Campus Ås is the largest university building in Norway. Here, the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, and a state biomedical research facility gather under one roof. Between animal operating theaters, secure research laboratories and sunlit common areas, the 63,000 m2 facility emerges from a menu of wide-ranging and exacting logistical requirements. With a common courtyard at the heart of Campus Ås, its core is a meeting place for different disciplines, a setting for researchers, students and guests to meet, share knowledge, and find new inspiration.
The most technically advanced state project in Norway’s university sector reflects a ten-year collaborative design dialogue. In close consultation with Campus Ås’ users, an international advisory panel and 120 specialized engineers, we have collaboratively shaped a facility with the requisite infrastructure to support an ambitious confluence of academics and specialized research. Campus Ås delivers balances technical demands with sustainable measures – the facility’s energy consumption is anticipated to be 25 to 50 percent lower than the Norwegian TEK10 sustainable construction standards. The product of a cooperative development dialogue, specialized logistical planning and a Scandinavian emphasis on livable, practical design, Campus Ås exemplifies sustainable investment in biomedical innovation.
The project is a bridging of gaps: between great and small, hazardous and safe, clinical and human, isolated and connected. Rather than try to join the mass under a single roof, the building’s program distributes in a number of smaller modules that break down the scale and bring a level of intimacy to the project.
The true scope of the mass, despite encompassing more than 63,000m2 of occupiable floorspace, feels smaller as it distributes between eight wings whose elevations rise hardly more than four stories.
The highly sensitive (and even hazardous) spaces the building houses, such as infectious disease laboratories and surgical suites, are bound in the center, protected by a permeable barrier to the ring of public program on the campus’ exterior.
Rather than put the entire facility on perpetual lockdown, breaking the project into smaller modules that can be individually locked down as needed allows Campus Ås to take on a public function. Visitors can venture almost all the way into the building’s heart without experiencing the risk intrinsic to the campus’ function.