J. E. Purkyně University Building, Ústí nad Labem
Na Okraji 1001/7, Ústí nad Labem
2015 – 2019, competition, first prize
|Team:||Rastislav Balog, Barbara Bartoňková, Pavel Dvořák, Kateřina Eiermannová, Jan Foltýnek, Jakub Hanžl, Martina Holá, Martin Jireš, Nikola Korábová, Jan Kubát, Lenka Ľuptáková, David Menšík, Petr Pelčák, Petr Uhrín, David Vahala (project supervisor), Miroslava Zadražilová|
|Investor:||Jan Evangelista Purkyně University|
The design creates a unit out of the torso of the campus which is incorporated into the urban texture of the city. It makes use of a clear urban typology forming a space and links with a distinct character: a square, meadow, park, promenade, gate, city stairway, river banks…
The square at the focal point of the campus is the only city articulated public space. One enters from there the CPTO building which forms the border on the east and the south. The view of the ridges of Větruše chateau does not enclose its volume, however, as it is on the level of the main floor through the gate with the steps to the park and the open space of the dining hall. The foyer in front of the largest lecture halls in the eastern wing also opens up toward the park. The space of the square is thereby visually linked on the level of the main floor with the “public” spaces of the CPTO building. The promenade along the southern facade of CPTO directly links up with the line of Thomayerova street to the east and the original Mendělejevova street to the west. The shape of the layout of the CPTO building and its placement are based on the geometry of the existing parts of the campus and the original hospital grounds. The shape of the volume forms a figure which is clearly recognizable in the overall picture of the city. The transverse axis, the higher wing facing out on the crossroads of Klíšská x Londýnská x Solvayova streets and its front, thus creates a marked vertical motif upon arriving in the centre.
The architecture of the design is concrete in terms of its figure, materiality, spatial construction both outside and inside. This comes about through the traditional themes of gravity, tectonics and plasticity as well as through the distinct establishment of volumes and surfaces and the border between the internal and the external. This clearness does not entail limits but instead views-through, pictures and perspectives generating a wealth of spatial perceptions. The themes of permanence, operational economy (the glazed surfaces only make up approximately 35% of the surface of the facade) and friendliness (in terms of material, space, function) are also created. It is not only user-friendly, but also in relation to its neighbours, the already standing campus buildings and the wider surroundings. The work has been carried out with an awareness of time, which it tries to win over on its side, with aging as layering, a patina, a gradually acquired quality and stability.
The architecture of the design is also, however, made up of abstraction. This is paradoxically in order to be comprehensible, to be succinct. This consists, of course, of a structure in a park, a structure in a city landscape. The motifs of the window panels are abstract: visually hidden by full parapets and window frames. The basic features of the facade are the windows, these being the scale of the anthropometric. Its multiplication in the geometric order, however, serves to allow the whole to emerge on the scale of the city and the landscape.
The selected plasticity of the cladding, with transverse window piers, not only makes reference to Lehmann’s Ústí Riunione palace (including the ceramic surface) but also most importantly formally solves an appropriate full and glazed surface and its shading from the bright western sunlight. The plasticity and mass, the fullness of the facade, are the means to form the bodies of the structure. The interior is in the same spirit, being made up of a collection of places, their relations and the concrete materiality.
The CPTO structure has an L-shaped ground plan with longer longitudinal wings situated on the east-west axis alongside its contemporaries. The staff offices are located in this wing, while the shorter, transverse spaces are used by students, in other words for classrooms and laboratories. The longitudinal wing has a three-tract layout and a five-tract cross-wise. The main vertical core making up its linking segment is placed at the intersecting point of both. It is expanded on each floor with the space of the rest area opened up on the southern facade with a view of the city and the Elbe river valley. The lifts are situated in a glazed (fire safe) shaft which serves as a vertical light conductor while also allowing for a visual linking of the main staircase with the rest area and the long-distance views.
The operations are located in logical operational cells, mostly in such a way that each floor has a complete section of the department, or even an entire department. A small auditorium and the largest lecture hall are situated in the entrance floor while other large classrooms are located a floor lower, on the ground floor, which is actually the basement in relation to the entrance floor on the level of the square. Both ground floors, from the side of the square and the park, are therefore linked by the first-storey entrance hall in connection with the main entrance. This contains another stairway which leads in parallel fashion with the outdoor staircase situated in the gate connecting up the square with the park.
Both of these staircases make up one visually unified unit and have the character of stands or an auditorium looking out on the park.