Daylight in Buildings



Markus Uhlik, Nika Rant


Hildegard Sint


FH Campus Wien




Project Description

Freedom:e is a publicly open building that respects every individual person using it. Everybody is welcome and nobody is reduced to their social status, race, religion or ethnicity. The building is a meeting point of different cultures in a big city, where people with the most different backgrounds live together. The uniqueness of the sunlight on the walls while reading, climbing, drinking coffee or relaxing makes the building even more inviting to its visitors. The symbolic design of the building is the main key to understanding its unique shape, the icebreaker. The encounter in this building, that is filled with natural sunlight, breaks the ice even between the most different cultures. The outer appearance continues to show its form even in the interior. The building is divided in split levels, which allow an even better experience of the ever-changing sunlight situation inside. To even further demonstrate the freedom, for which Freedom:e stands, almost all spaces are open and accessible without passing through doors or any other kind of division elements. The separation of the individual spaces takes place by dividing them on different levels, which are connected to each other by ramps, allowing a smooth and also wheelchair-friendly transition from one space to the other. Of course, all levels are also accessible by elevator. Entering the ground floor you can find yourself standing in a big, open space with a coffee island and some tables, allowing you to get a nice cup of coffee in the foyer area. This area gets a lot of sunlight from the eastern glass façade as well as from the top floor, since there is a big open gallery overlooking the entire foyer. Going further towards the middle of the ground floor you can choose the ramp on your left or the stairs or the elevator on your right. The ramp leads you past the indoor climbing tower to the boulder-area, which is situated approximately 60 cm below the entrance area. You can access the external climbing area from the foyer as well as from the boulder area. If you choose the stairs, you come to the first floor, which consists of the public library and an open space, equipped with pool tables and table soccer. The library can also be accessed through the southern entrance of the building and also has a higher level, which allows you to read all your favourite books while relaxing and overlooking the open library layout. Proceeding to the second floor you arrive into an open exhibition area and over the ramp further to the yoga and dance studio, which is the only area that can be closed by a door to ensure noise cancelling. The third floor consists of a publicly accessible yoga terrace, which also allows you to sit and enjoy the view when there are no yoga classes. The design of the building is very unique and plays a very interesting game with the natural sunlight. In the design process of the façade, the main focus was on the placement of the opaque elements, that are used to keep the sun out of the building when necessary. This is why, especially in the southern part of the building, these elements are placed rather horizontally, to keep out the hot summer-sun during the most parts of the day. This way the danger of overheating is reduced. In the winter, when the warmth of the sun can be a big advantage, the sunlight can enter the building through the more vertically placed transparent elements and help heating up the building to a comfortable temperature. Through the very open layouts, each floor gets sunlight from very different corners. This way, a unique light game is presented to the users of the building each and every day of the year. The ramps, built as bridges passing the indoor climbing tower, allow the sunlight entering through the top floor windows reach down all the way to the foyer three floors lower. The entire building is suitable for wheelchair users. Since the main paths through the building follow through ramps, there is no differentiation between disabled and not disabled individuals. The façade is, as explained above, one of the most important design elements of the entire building and also the bearing system of the construction. It consists of wood panels, which are connected to each other through steel knots. This enables stability, but at the same time a very lightweight construction that keeps the carbon footprint of the building as low as possible.