ODENSE – The main campus of the University of Southern Denmark in Odense has earned its fair share of nicknames over the years for its notoriously grim masses of concrete and weathering steel – the ‘Rustenborg’ (‘Rusty Castle’) and the ‘Führerbunker’, to name a few. Aarhus-based firm C.F. Møller Architects have been commissioned for a series of more flattering expansions to the existing 1966 campus – including a massive, urban park complex slated for 2020. For now, they have realised a residential hall as a spatial and aesthetic link between old and new.
The future complex will conveniently obscure one’s view of the Rustenborg from the main road, but the dormitories do not have a ‘bad side’ to hide. Its innovative, 360-degree view results from placing three towers in a rotating configuration, with each tower composed of varyingly-sized blocks that have been shifted and rotated to form subtle cantilevers and stair-stepping roof-lines.
The centre of the towers is filled in to house common areas, from which one moves outward to the individual dorms lining one face of each block. This arrangement affords each room a private balcony, with a resplendent view of the countryside that at the same time does not overlook other rooms. Bricks in assorted shades of grey form the façade along with hardwood and tombac curtain walling, somewhat muting the structure’s imposing height in relation to the forest landscape.