Kolding, Denmark

2009 - 2014

University of Southern Denmark - Campus Kolding

With its unique open format and its distinctive and harmonious aesthetic, SDU’s Campus Kolding offers a blueprint for forward-facing educational standards, prioritizing flexible learning spaces, interaction between teachers and students, and transparency as an overarching value.

Project details


The Danish University and Property Agency




Our design for Campus Kolding was conceived to promote new ideas about education, supporting various forms of learning and encouraging openness and conversation. Located on the Grønborg grounds in the center of Kolding, the building is close to the harbor, train station, and scenic banks of the river. With its striking triangular shape, it has become a landmark for the city, creating a new central plaza that connects with other educational institutions including the Kolding Design School and International Business College Kolding.

The building’s interior creates a new kind of learning environment that challenges the traditional planning of educational institutions. Oriented around a central, five-story atrium that moves learning into the heart of the campus and away from long corridors or closed classrooms, the building facilitates a sense of transparency. Common areas promote group discussions, and its large stairs create visual connections and encourage movement.

The dynamic atrium allows students to choose between varied learning environments and study places. Similarly, each floor above is organized to promote interaction between teachers, researchers, and students, while also offering areas for quiet reflection and concentration.

Hufton + Crow, 2015
At Campus Kolding, students, teachers, and visitors navigate through an expansive and adaptable atrium that facilitates meeting and interaction. Hufton + Crow, 2015

"When people come into the building through the main entrance, they always stop right there. You can see their eyes following the columns all the way up to the roof, giving them that 'wow' feeling."

Per Krogh Hansen

Head of the Department of Design and Communication at the University of Southern Denmark

Denmark’s first low-energy university

Completed back in 2014, our design for Campus Kolding prioritized visual identity, social activation, and functional optimization in equal measure. Earning it an Energy Class 1 certification for its minimized consumption, the project is not only Denmark’s very first low-energy university, but also one of the very first in the world.

In addition to decreasing energy consumption for lighting, heating, cooling, and ventilation, our strategy optimized the passive characteristics of the building, strategically using its shape and structure to replace energy-intensive technological solutions. This has resulted in an energy consumption of just 48 kWh/m²/year, equivalent to 20-25% of consumption in buildings of a similar scale.

SDU's Campus Kolding building seamlessly integrates with the town, blurring the boundaries between campus plaza and indoor study areas, creating a cohesive urban space for the community. Hufton + Crow, 2015

An innovative façade

The façade is an integrated part of the building and reflects both the aesthetic and functional values of the project.

In order to harness the power of natural light, we created a solar shading system that adjusts to the specific climate conditions and user patterns, providing optimal daylight and a comfortable indoor climate through the year. The system features 1,600 triangular shutters of perforated steel, mounted on the façade and fitted with sensors which continuously measure light and heat levels. A small motor opens and closes the shutters accordingly, creating a distinctly different appearance. When closed, they lie flat, like reptilian scales, and when open, they protrude from the façade, allowing light to flood in.

Dynamic solar shading within the Campus Kolding building façade adapts to weather and user behavior, ensuring ideal daylight and indoor comfort. Hufton + Crow, 2015

Attention to detail

Inherent to our plan for the school was a focus on interiors, from the furnishings to the typography used in signs around the building. Informed by feedback from university students and faculty, we created custom furniture for every space, and a unique wayfinding system that incorporates iconography and an original typeface. Intended to reflect the school’s physical form and a playful sense of graphic creativity, elements like the curves of the custom typeface and the clean lines of the central atrium carry the building’s identity throughout, establishing a comprehensive aesthetic in gestures of varying scales.

The SDU Campus Kolding building carries its identity from the curves of our custom typeface designed for the school to the clean lines of its central atrium, establishing a cohesive aesthetic. Peter Nørby, 2015
Hufton + Crow, 2015


All contacts
Portrait of Eva Ravnborg

Country Market Director, Partner

Portrait of Nina la Cour Sell


Portrait of Bodil Nordstrøm

Head of Design


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