Student Housing for the University of Southern Denmark / by C.F. Møller


The design of the new student housing for the University of Southern Denmark in Odense is based on a strong community spirit. The 250 student residences are located in three interconnected 14-storey buildings. This means that the residence has no front or back, but appears attractive from a 360-degree perspective. The building’s distinctive shape will make it easily recognizable on the campus, and clearly advertises its distinct residential content.


The project constitutes a link between the 1966 linear university campus and the new Cortex Park, a Research and Knowledge Park designed by C.F. Møller in 2009 as a more irregular and dense urban cluster. The university’s clear structure is also an inspiration for the student residence: with its layout centred on common spaces on all floors, the new building reinterprets the existing university’s manageable and human-scaled campus laid out around common environments – a sort of vertical campus.


The site’s terrain slopes gently towards an elongated wetland to the south and the residential building becomes part of the science park structure, with the three towers forming a clear landmark on the development’s eastern end. The three towers are rotated relative to each other, inscribing them in faceted angles of the science park, while the direction of the front plaza uniting the towers refers to the linear modernism of the university campus.


The dorm rooms are located on the outer faces of the three towers, where they all enjoy views of the countryside without overlooking neighbouring rooms, due to the building’s turns and twists. Each room has a private balcony, which both helps make the homes attractive, but also has an environmental function: The shading internal balconies help manage solar gain, contributing to significant savings on cooling energy.


Moving inwards from the private rooms towards the communal kitchen in the centre, areas gradually become more and more collective: A shared living room acts as a social meeting place for the small cluster of seven rooms, which all residences are grouped in, and as a transition to the fully communal spaces. The kitchens at the centre of each floor are shared by all, and feature generous glazed facades that ensure light and views in three directions. The top floor has spectacular views, and is reserved for common activities such as music, drama, gym or library with roof terraces and green roofs for urban farming.


The surrounding landscape is designed in accordance with principles of sustainable use of resources, where soil balance, precipitation and wildlife habitats are considered in a recreational hierarchy of managed areas and wild nature. A series of precisely defined, square plots at the northern end constitute parking areas and multifunctional garden spaces with features such as tennis courts, seating and urban farming. They are distributed in proximity of the building, interspersed by wild nature with wetlands, reeds and wild herbs. The garden spaces are linked by a network of paths, which allow the rest of the Science Park and the University to experience the residence’s lush garden.


The three towers will be constructed of bespoke, warm-toned greyish bricks, with slightly pronounced joints. The curtain walling will also appear in warm tones, in a mixture of hardwood profiles and tombac panels. The building’s overall energy concept is based on the optimization of passive design parameters such as shape, orientation, adaptation to climatic conditions, daylighting, ceiling heights and structural thermal mass etc.
The indoor climate and energy requirements are planned to meet the 2020 Danish low-energy building codes, featuring for example a highly insulated and airtight building envelope, low-energy pre-fab concrete components, use of natural cross-ventilation, and extensive heat recovery from exhaust air, waste water, showers, etc.

Client: The A. P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation
Address: University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
Architect: C.F. Møller

Landscape architect: C.F. Møller Landscape
Engineer: Niras
Size: 13,700 m2 (250 housing units)
Year: 2012-2015
Awards: 1st prize in competition, 2012

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