An open international competition was held to select a general planning team for a new campus for the Bern University of Applied Sciences. The Departments of Health Professions, Social Work, and Business, along with individual faculties of the Bern University of the Arts (HKB), the president’s office, and supporting services will now be accommodated on the site in Ausserhollingen in the west of Bern.
Our design, which was awarded first prize, consolidates the individual areas into a single building with 38,000 square meters of usable floor space.
It consists of a plinth that extends to the edges of the building site and three cubes set on top, which correspond to the functional divisions. By adopting the diagonal of the building site, the middle cube is rotated, giving expression to the autonomy of its use as a university for music, theater, and opera. This creates a playful outward appearance despite the compactness of the overall structure.
The plan’s clear organization and the connection of the cubes to each other enable flexible use.
An urban park that features a pavilion-like rotunda with the continuing education center and a restaurant / meeting place flanks the building and, with its industrial atmosphere, reflects the character that has evolved in the surroundings.
Parallel to the campus park is an internal access road – which, as the university’s main artery, links all the units together and terminates in the vertical circulation halls of the new building.
In their palette of materials, the facades are consistent with the overall constructional concept; they consist of precast concrete elements with mobile glazing along the main thoroughfare and, on the upper levels, wood elements with a gray patina finish.