The animals went in two by two
Henning Larsen & Fabel
New veterinary research & teaching centre opens for University of Life Sciences
At some 63,000 sqm, making it the largest public building in Norway, Campus Ås at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) combines research and teaching facilities for veterinary medicine. This makes it the first campus of its kind in the world. The new veterinary building opened in late 2021, with the aim of gaining greater understanding of the natural world at this time of global climate and environmental crises. It is now home to 690 students and almost 855 employees.The centre is housed within eight distinct but linked buildings, uniting previously disparate resources. Containing over 2,400 rooms, the building is subdivided into eight wings, which are themselves distributed between the building’s two primary programmes: the Norwegian Veterinary Institute and the Norwegian University of Life Science.
“It is the first campus of its kind,” said Karoline Igland, Head of Department at Henning Larsen’s Oslo office, who has played a major role in the project throughout its design and construction. “No building anywhere in the world unites the same range of researchers and experts or has the same requirements in terms of safety and readiness.”
The project sets out to bridge the gaps between great and small, hazardous and safe, clinical and human, isolated and connected. Despite the scale of the volume, which houses over 2,400 rooms, the interiors at the Veterinary Building at Campus Ås remain reassuringly human in scale and feel. The building rarely rises over four storeys and is subdivided into eight wings which are themselves distributed between the building’s two primary programs: the Norwegian Veterinary Institute and the Norwegian University of Life Science.
Stables, barns, aquariums, animal clinics, hydrotherapy pools, riding halls, BSL 3 laboratories, autopsy rooms, classrooms, offices, libraries, and canteens, and social spaces enable researchers, faculty, students, and visiting experts to meet and learn from each other – both formally and informally.
The research/clinical areas require greater segregation. Different spaces have been carefully separated to avoid cross contamination. Even the animals must be carefully separated, with veterinary program divided between small and large animal clinics and subdivided further to separate healthy/injured animals from those that are ill.
Situated in an open landscape of soft hills, the long and low profile of Campus Ås allows it to fit in to its campus surroundings while still standing out. The façade is built up of over 300,000 hand-cut bricks, each coal fired to give them an individual sheen and texture. The reddish-brown hue of the bricks also matches the surrounding campus structures, some of which date back to the campus’ foundation in 1859. Native plantings surround the bulk of the new building and can also be found up above, where sedum roofs support a prosperous insect habitat.
Developed for Statsbygg by Multiconsult, Henning Larsen, Fabel Arkitekter, Link Landskap, and Erichsen + Horgen, the project is one of the largest and most complex construction projects ever undertaken in Norway.
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