University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld

University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld

Architect
Auer Weber
Location
Bielefeld, Germany
Project Year
2015
Category
Auditoriums

Universities
Stories By
Auer Weber

Knauf AMF
Aldo Amoretti

University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld

Auer Weber as Architects

The new building is located North of Peter Kulka’s 1976 planned University complex, one of the biggest University buildings in Europe. Small-scale housing and single and double family houses characterise the surroundings.


The urban concept highlights the dialogue to the existing University and is defined both by a clear volume and clearly landscaped green spaces.


The new building is to become the centre for the hitherto decentralized technical areas: Engineering, Mathematics, Social Services, Economy, Health, as well as the main installations of the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld. This includes offices, meeting and conference rooms, seminar and practice rooms, labs of various types, workshops, experimentation halls, auditoriums, theatre labs, library, cafeteria, storage, archives and server rooms.


The compact volume reacts with its two sides to the urban requirements of the future campus and the landscaping requirements to the South. Northwards a clear edge is defined, which dissipates and opens up towards the southern green space. The urban approach, sequences of so-called “Hot Spots” become a compositional and functional element within an interior “Main Street” in the building.


The base with continuous circumferential height adapts within its interior to the downward sloping southern site, thereby forming a single-storey high area to the North and a split-level double-storey to the South. Variously sized courtyards provide structure and light to the interior of the base.


The courtyards, with their staggered U-forms and row-like volumes mesh in a comblike manner with the southern green space.


An abstract pattern covers the building without highlighting the interior uses or the individual floors and provides a homogenous appearance. This is managed by a varying paneling of opaque and transparent coloured elements, which are integrated into an overall aluminium pilaster grid. The colour-scheme and distribution was developed together with the artist Josef Schwaiger.

Modern learning: the first acoustic panels facilitate an open landscape for learning

Knauf AMF as Acoustic Ceiling Solution

At the University of Applied Sciences in Bielfeld, 36,000 square meters of Knauf AFM wood wool acoustic panels enhance the acoustics within an impressively large open landscape for learning.


The challenge for the architects was to encourage communication and interdisciplinary collaboration within shared spaces where people come together, whilst also reducing reverberation and ensuring a good level of acoustic control.


The Auer Weber planning team found what they were looking for at Knauf AMF. The ceiling specialist from Grafenau produces Heradesign superfine - 35 millimetre thick wood wool acoustic panels made of magnesite bonded wood and water. The architects used a metal CD supporting structure to suspend 36,000 square metres of these panels weighing 15 kg per square metre (special format: 550x2200 millimetres) from the ceiling. Optimal sound absorption each type of room was achieved by varying the suspension height and using different thicknesses of mineral wool insulation as a lining between the ceiling itself and the acoustic panels. 


The result: It is noticeably quieter in the lecture theatres, the corridors, seminar rooms and open-plan learning and meeting spaces and students can relax and talk to each other at a low volume.


More from the Manufacturer:


Bielefeld University has almost 9,700 students and is the largest publicly-funded university in the East Westphalia-Lippe. Until then its faculties had been distributed over several locations. This all changed with the opening of the new building in Campus North during the winter semester of 2015/16.


31,500 square metres of floor space house 16 lecture theatres, 220 seminar rooms, a library, laboratories, computer centre, two café bars and a cafeteria with outdoor seating. “The Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences has been given its own specific address and a new look on the Bielefeld campus,” said Beate Rennen-Allhoff, President of the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. “For the first time, the different university disciplines can engage in teaching, learning and research under one roof - with an outstanding infrastructure and the latest equipment.” The students belong to the Engineering Science, Mathematics, Social Studies and Business Studies faculties.


Large open landscape for learning presented an acoustical challenge


The creative forces of Auer Weber, the Munich architectural firm, are behind the construction of the new building. They have designed the building so that it features a feeling of openness to encourage communication and interdisciplinary collaboration. There are large spaces where people can come together to share ideas, courtyards flooded with light and wide corridors that are attractive and inspirational to walk along.


However, this openness presented the architects with the acoustic challenge of reducing reverberation. “At an early stage, we decided to install a suspended ceiling throughout the building to offer students a quiet and pleasant acoustical environment,” reflected Thomas Schonder, architect at Auer Weber. This is how the search for a suitable ceiling solution began.


36,000 square metres of wood wool acoustic panels improve the acoustics


The Auer Weber planning team found what they were looking for at Knauf AMF. The ceiling specialist from Grafenau produces Heradesign superfine - 35 millimetre thick wood wool acoustic panels made of magnesite bonded wood and water. The architects used a metal CD supporting structure to suspend 36,000 square metres of these panels weighing 15 kg per square metre (special format: 550x2200 millimetres) from the ceiling. Optimal sound absorption each type of room was achieved by varying the suspension height and using different thicknesses of mineral wool insulation as a lining between the ceiling itself and the acoustic panels.


This acoustic lining has been fitted throughout the building and uses friction to convert up to 90 per cent of the sound energy generated over the whole frequency spectrum into heat, whilst reflecting the remainder. It absorbs sound in the speech-related frequency range of between 250 and 4000 Hz particularly effectively. The result: It is noticeably quieter in the lecture theatres, the corridors, seminar rooms and open-plan learning and meeting spaces and students can relax and talk to each other at a low volume. Mr Schonder said, “This pleasant indoor acoustic environment means we can avoid unnecessary symptoms of fatigue and we also meet the German DIN 18041 standard ‘acoustical quality in small to medium-sized rooms’.”


Economical alternative to traditional perforated panels


The wood wool acoustic panels offer an economical alternative to the traditional perforated panels. “Perforated panels absorb the sound energy over a narrow frequency range and therefore architects need to incorporate additional, expensive absorbers for low-frequencies and bands to create effective acoustics,” said Thomas Wölfer, South Property Manager at Knauf AMF. “However, the Heradesign wood wool acoustic panels combine these functions and therefore provide a more economical solution which will also last for several decades.”


Wood wool acoustic panels characterised by their visual appearance


The architects were particularly impressed by both the high level of sound absorption of the ceiling panels and the characteristic visual appearance of the wood wool structure containing fibre which is millimetres thick. “We have intentionally used the Heradesign product which specifically caters for textured surfaces. The individualised colour scheme made it perfectly possible to coordinate with other materials,” said Mr Schonder. In this way, for example, the wide corridors with their grey ceiling panels harmonise with the grey linoleum flooring. “This design aspect was a key criteria for the choice of ceiling system.”


It was also easy for the drywall builder to trim parts of the ceiling panels when integrating elements of the building services before installation. “The suspended ceiling system was supposed to be able to incorporate technical installations such as lighting, ventilation, sprinklers, fire alarms and loudspeakers,” stated Schonder. In this way some spaces could have lighting channels with surface-mounted lighting, compared with the recessed lighting and running bond in large open areas. “Another product advantage transpired in that it was relatively easy to temporarily open up individual ceiling areas to perform subsequent installation work during the building phase.” The company technicians are able to work more quickly due to this ability to gain access.


Acoustic panels are sustainable and cause no damage to health


The new building at the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences is a prime example of sustainable building. For example, the planners have constructed one of Germany’s largest geothermal energy systems that uses heat stored in the earth and has an output of 700 kilowatts - this is equal to heating 115 family homes. The acoustic panels conform to this concept of sustainability. For example, the seal provided by the charitable, non-profit NGO Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) confirms that the raw materials used have nothing to do with illegal logging and destructive forestry. The acoustic panels also bear the Blue Angel seal of approval - the world's oldest (1978) environmental seal.

Project Credits
Acoustic Ceiling Solution
Architects
Products used in this project
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct name
Acoustic Ceiling SolutionKnauf AMF
Window & Door SupplierNovoferm
Product Spec Sheet
Acoustic Ceiling Solution
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