Submitted by WA Contents

Henning Larsen designs new mass timber and microclimate university building in Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands Architecture News - Jul 24, 2023 - 12:20   1388 views

Henning Larsen designs new mass timber and microclimate university building in Faroe Islands

Henning Larsen has revealed design for a new university building in Torshavn, Faroe Islands, which is set to be built as a new community campus, at the University of the Faroe Islands, extending the comfortable outdoor season by 150 days each year. 

The 8,000-square-metre campus will be made of mass timber, while it will have integrated green facades to create ideal conditions for students to learn and socialize. 

Henning Larsen designs new mass timber and microclimate university building in Faroe Islands

Henning Larsen draws inspiration from the the historic Faroese settlements and ancient methods of adapting buildings to the weather conditions of the North Atlantic islands. 

The design, embracing the local Faroese custom of ‘reading the landscape’, the project envisions a cluster of buildings placed to create natural shelter.

The new campus features an interior square that serves as the heart. A central "street" and a large stair are designed to foster everyday interactions, as well as a library, informal study spaces, a canteen, a café, space for research and administration staff, classrooms, and a large flexible auditorium. 

Henning Larsen designs new mass timber and microclimate university building in Faroe Islands

Home to some of the world’s oldest functioning timber buildings, dating as far back as the 11th century, the Faroe Islands’ enduring historic structures, traditional craftmanship and characteristic architecture have been a distinct inspiration for the design of the university extension. 

The buildings will be constructed using mass timber with glulam and croos laminated timber (CLT), and covered with a turfed roof to seamlessly blend the buildings with the iconic landscape of Torshavn.

"Our vision draws inspiration from historic Faroese construction methods and the mass timber buildings of the past while offering the University of the Faroe Islands a modern campus that blends seamlessly into the landscape and its varied context," said Ósbjørn Jacobsen, Design Director, Partner, Henning Larsen Faroe Islands.

Henning Larsen designs new mass timber and microclimate university building in Faroe Islands

The green elements continue down the northern and southern elevations of the buildings, comprising of façade modules which are designed for vegetation growth throughout the year, specifically in the islands’ Northern Atlantic climate. 

As a striking contrast to many existing biophilic facade solutions that are add-on components installed onto existing structures, Henning Larsen’s project will have "a self-sustaining modular facade system". 

With its aesthetic and structural features, this facade element introduces vertical nature as an integrated part of the building design instead of becoming an afterthought.

Henning Larsen designs new mass timber and microclimate university building in Faroe Islands

Extending the outdoor season by five months

Designed to counteract Torshavn’s often-changing weather – where it can be common to experience multiple weather fronts in one day - a central courtyard space is enclosed and shielded by buildings on all sides, creating optimal conditions for outdoor activities. 

"Using wind and sun simulations, we have positioned the building volume so it is protected from the elements. We are transforming some existing parts of a parking lot into a new green community space, sheltered from the strong Northwestern winds dominating Torshavn. In this way, we add 150 days to the comfortable outdoor season and create the best possible conditions for outdoor life in one of the harshest campus locations in the world," said Jakob Strømann-Andersen, Director of Sustainability and Innovation, Henning Larsen.

Henning Larsen designs new mass timber and microclimate university building in Faroe Islands

Site plan

Henning Larsen designs new mass timber and microclimate university building in Faroe Islands

Exploded Green

Henning Larsen has won the project in a design competition which featured six teams of architects, all of which were fronted by local architecture teams. Among the competing teams were BIG and Cobe in cooperation with local studios, among others. 

Henning Larsen is also designing a new ferry terminal that draws inspiration from traditional Faroese fishing boats and the historic Eastern harbor. The firm was selected to transform Kurfürstendamm 231 with a generous public plaza in West Berlin.

Project facts

Project: New central community building at the University of Faroe Islands

Location: Torshavn, Faroe Islands

Year: 2023-2026

Size: 8.000 m2 

CO2e/m2/year: 11kg (50-year lifespan)

Client: Fróskaparsetur Føroya (University of Faroe Islands)

Architect: Henning Larsen 

Landscape Architect: Henning Larsen

Renders © Plomp.

All drawings © Henning Larsen.

> via Henning Larsen 

CLT educational building glulam Henning Larsen mass timber university building