Since its inauguration in 2009, Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences has developed rapidly; at the beginning, the university was housed in provisionally equipped temporary buildings. Today, the university boasts the complete, newly equipped Kamp-Lintfort campus, one of the most modern university facilities of the State, with a focus on mathematics, information technology, the natural and engineering sciences, and technology (MINT). In cooperation with the Straelen architect Michael van Ooyen, pbr AG won first prize for its entry to a general design competition.
The campus as focal point
At the new campus, up to 2,000 students in the fields of communication and environment are enrolled on one of eight Bachelor or four Master degree courses. The students at the campus meet and gather in the central square, where five distinct raised and planted areas provide seating at the edges. Instead of creating one large homogeneous building, the room schedule was spread over four two- to three-storey building tracts that surround the clearly defined central square. The leading design idea was to create a place of exchange and communication for teachers and students alike. All buildings are accessed from this square, and face it with open facades. The general facilities to the north-west, including the refectory, the bistro, the library, the auditorium centre with foyer and exhibition area, are oriented towards the centre of the campus. On the opposite side are the buildings for the Communication and Environment faculties, and the technical tract.
Whilst the square building of the auditorium centre and the library to the north of the campus mark the head of the university, the buildings to the south adjoining the park-like landscaping, the Grosse Gorley stream and the student housing beyond feature a more open design. The building to the east is placed at an angle, thus creating an entrance to the campus on the north side towards the inner city. From the south, users have a view beyond the campus site to the urban structure of the town of Kamp-Lintfort. By distributing the relatively large built volume over four buildings, it was possible to continue the scale of the existing urban structure in the new campus. Owing to the sense of scale and choice of material, the university buildings match the urban structure of the town.
Picking up on the local building tradition, which predominantly features brickwork, the materials selected for the facades are steel/aluminium, glass and facing brick to suit the respective functions of the rooms. The anthracite colour of the facing brick draws attention to the brick surface. To contrast with the industrially produced facing brick, a mullion/transom facade construction with slender aluminium profiles and colourful opening casements was installed flush with the surface. The panels beneath the windows in solid construction and the fenestration bands form a horizontal structure. The coloured ventilation elements provide a rhythm and structure to the facade, while the externally fitted solar screening boxes provide additional texture in the form of a horizontal silver-coloured band. The subdued colour of the anthracite face brick of the building and the dark metal form a deliberate contrast to the coloured elements, a feature that is continued inside the building, for example in the auditoria.
Auditorium centre and library
The auditorium centre and the library welcome users in a double-storey entrance hall with an artwork by the Berlin artist, Raimund Kummer. Two staircases designed in mirror fashion lead to the upper floor. The building houses the Audimax auditorium with stepped seating for 300 persons, and an experiment auditorium for 150 visitors. By virtue of a movable partition, it is possible to extend the Audimax to include a seminar room. The experiment auditorium contains technical equipment for various physics experiments. In total, a further five auditoria and three seminar rooms are located on the various floors. In order to provide ideal acoustic conditions in the auditoria, sound-absorbing material and alternating hard and soft materials were applied. The auditoria have desks equipped with PCs and connections for other media, including the controls for lighting and services.
The library is located on the second floor, occupying an area of 750 m², including its individual glazed carrels, group rooms and offices. It provides shelving for a total of 45,000 books and electronic media. The work for the library staff is made easier by the use of a self-booking system and automatic pre-sorting of returned books.
Open areas such as corridors were designed in a rather robust style using simple and unfinished materials, radiating a somewhat rough, almost industrial, charm. Typical surfaces consist of fair-faced concrete, expanded metal ceilings, metal railings and grey floor finishes. This interior detailing is intended to emphasise the experimental and open character of the university, in contrast to a conventional office building. The appearance of the walls in all buildings is dominated by a theme of changing white plastered finishes with fair-faced concrete. For example, on the upper floor of the auditorium building, the internal wall surfaces are white, whereas those facing the outside are finished in fair-faced concrete. This scheme also prompted the design of the internal doors. Their colours match the adjoining material and the design features flush-fitting metal frames with shadow grooves.
Layout organisation in the teaching block
The faculty building houses various wet chemistry laboratories, media rooms, PC pools and workshops. An open terrace on the top floor provides space for open-air experiments. On the second floor, the building is connected to the technical tract via a bridge with slender lattice girders, which are reminiscent of the design of industrial buildings. This presented a special challenge, as the bridge penetrates the glass facade and therefore vibrations have to be kept to a minimum.
Part of the building features two internal corridors with a central tract for service functions between them. The seminar rooms for chemistry and physics have been arranged along a concourse. The offices of the lecturers can be reached from there via short side corridors. These rooms have been deliberately placed a short distance away from the concourse in order to create a quieter area for work and preparation. The internal corridors receive natural light via the glazed side panels of the internal doors. At the ends of the corridors, glazed doors lead to enclosed student work spaces.
Carrying out experiments on two levels
The technical tract consists of a multifunctional technology and experimentation hall. The ground floor accommodates the technology hall and the various laboratories, such as CAD/CAM laboratories, and the so-called Fabric Laboratory (FabLab). The FabLab is a workshop with 3D printer, laser cutter and CNC milling machines for computer-controlled machine production of innovative products. The technology hall with its fibre-concrete floor and impact protection is suitable for heavy vehicles, for example for loading and unloading large machines. An overhead crane is available for lifting loads, for example from an HGV up to the upper floor. Various services have been installed in the technical tract, including 3-phase current and compressed air, in order to be able to carry out a wide range of experiments. The acoustic ceiling absorbs sound emissions.
In addition, the ground floor accommodates a mechanical workshop and service facilities. A single-storey room for further test rigs is located on the first floor. The second floor provides student workplaces, seminar rooms and offices. At ground floor level, the facade of the technical tract is completely glazed on three sides in order to facilitate a close connection between the inside and outside.
Light creates atmosphere
On the campus, lamps along the faculty building create a connecting line from the city to the green space. This linear pathway is more intensely lit than the central square of the campus. Ground-level spotlights in the distinct raised and planted areas provide subdued lighting on the square. At key points on the campus, energy-efficient LED luminaires are used for the artificial lighting. The colour of the lights and the orientation of the lamps inside the buildings were selected with particular concern for creating a reference to the outside lamps in order to create a homogeneous appearance for passers-by in the dark, a reference that links the external lighting with the internal lamps visible through the glazed facades.
Refectory and administration
On the ground floor of the administration and refectory building is the Student Service Office with meeting rooms, and the refectory. The upper floor contains seminar rooms and language laboratories, as well as rooms for administration. The refectory, which is directly linked to the bistro, provides 650 meals every lunchtime. Either side of the lunch period, about 200 guests are served breakfast and other light meals on a daily basis. Food is supplied on the basis of the fresh food system, i.e. meals are prepared and directly served at the premises using convenience food. In addition, snacks, sandwiches and light meals are available from the cafeteria when the main refectory is closed. In addition, there are automatic dispensers where students can buy drinks and snacks.
The dining room can be separated from the food counter with a glazed sliding wall. This allows students to use this area for work during the times when the refectory is not in operation. Storey-high openable window elements create a connection from the refectory to the central square. This also provides the opportunity for setting up outdoor seating at the campus.
The refectory features free-flow and self-service areas, as well as special offer counters and a display cooking counter. Two main menus and three alternative menus are offered every day. Goods are delivered to the new refectory at ground level and there are stores for daily stocks, deep-frozen and dry goods, preparation rooms, a cooking and a frying kitchen, a washing-up kitchen and a waste room. The stores for vegetables and fruit, meat and dairy products are located on the ground floor, and are connected to the production area. The kitchen with its associated preparation area has been designed as a full kitchen with combi steamer, cooking kettle and universal cooking appliances. The waste room contains a wet waste refrigerator in which wet waste from production is stored until it is removed by an external company.
A study was carried out that found that the heating system for the Kamp-Lintfort facility, which consists of a combined heat and power station, a boiler and good thermal insulation that exceeds the standard by 50%, is more cost-efficient than other systems. With the combined heat and power station, the university also produces its own electricity for use on the campus. The central heat generation system for the entire campus is located in the basement of the technical tract. The basement can be reached via a goods lift, providing maintenance-friendly access.
Ventilation to the rooms is mostly achieved via natural means in order to save energy. Air-conditioning was only installed for rooms with a need for many air changes, such as laboratories and server rooms. The necessary cooling is provided by two cold water generators with an output of 850 kW on the roof of the technical tract.