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Project

Bjerringbro Denmark Natural Science Center

Credits: ©2010 Naturvidenskabernes Hus

The Natural Science Center (Naturvidenskabernes Hus) in Bjerringbro, Denmark, is a green building demonstration project for energy and environment with a special focus on technologies for energy optimization. The 2500 m2 building is four stories, and serves as a laboratory for experiments in natural science education from nursery school to the final year of upper secondary educational. Energy systems – wind, solar, geothermal - are designed to be visible to visitors and students. The building itself is a monolithic cylinder whose exterior presents a homogeneous façade cut by terraces, window openings and translucent openings. The façade is covered by u-glass profiles that change character when weather and light conditions change. At night the building is lit from the inside like a lighthouse on the seaside. Inside the building are differentiated spatial experiences, flexible areas and internal connections. The Natural Science Center is placed on a hillside towards the north and is the first building seen when entering the city of Bjerringbro. The “Natural Science Gardens” on-site are designed to be an external educational site open for the public. The Natural Science Center was designed by NORD Architects from Copenhagen. The aim of the Center is to develop new tools and concepts for education and further training within the natural sciences, and to collaborate with educational institutions and companies on developing, planning and implementing educational programs. Through the activities, the concept of the project is to popularize natural science courses in primary school and upper secondary school.

 

Bjerringbro Natural Science Center Foggy Night

Natural Science Center, Bjerringbro, Denmark. ©2010 NORD Architects / Adam Mørk

from Detail, 2010
While in many countries scientists are complaining about the lack of young academics, Denmark is acting against this problem: The Natural Science Center or “Naturvidenskabens Hus” in Bjerringbro, designed by NORD Architects, provides a “learning laboratory” for natural sciences which, at the same times, makes its technical functions evident to the users.

“I never teach my pupils: I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn”. This quote by Albert Einstein explains the intention of Naturvidenskabens Hus quite well: to provide a place where new methods of teaching and learning in natural sciences can be tested.

NORD Arkitekter from Copenhagen, winners of an architectural competition in 2007, compare their building to a lighthouse: The monolithic cylinder, located on a hillside in the North of Bjerringbro, is clad mainly in u-glass profiles that change character when weather and light conditions change. On the same plot, a “Natural Science Garden” will also be established as an external educational site open for the public.

Morten Rask Gregersen, partner at NORD Arkitekter, explains the building concept as follows: “Our main idea was that the building should have an iconographic exterior and an interior that shows how a contemporary building works in term of installations. This meant that a lot of the installations are exposed and that the main technical room is visible to the visitors. Around the building, there are monitors that show the visitors how the building performs in terms of energy use, CO2 levels and acoustics.

The building has a geothermal heating system that can also work as a cooling system, using probes that go 50 metres into the ground. If the ground heat is not sufficient, the whole building can be supplied with additional heat from the district heating system. 2000 m2 of the interior spaces are naturally ventilated and only the laboratories and the auditorium have mechanical ventilation. The rain water from the roof is used to flush the toilets in the building. To the largest possible extent, the building consists of materials that can easily be reused, like the glass facade, the steel girders and the plasterboard walls. There is also an automatic sun screening system, that limits the heat getting into the building.

However the main concept of the experimental building is that the energy supply systems are exterior. In future, various energy resources (such as wind power, solar power and fuel cells) will be installed in the landscape garden around the building to provide the latter with energy. Thus, instead of integrating them in the building where the exchange of these elements would be complex and expensive, the elements can be plugged in over time. The Natural Science building is already collaborating with several parts of the industry and elements like wind power, H2 cells, solar cells etc will be placed in the park. Overall, the building’s energy demand is calculated at 95 kWh per square metre per year.”


Documents

  Bjerringbro Brochure (in Danish) (1,931 kb)

  Bjerringbro 2010 Catalogue (647 kb)


Resources

Bjerringbro Natural Science Center (Denmark)

NORD Architects (Denmark)