The Architects Speak About the FA building
Lukáš Ehl, Tomáš Koumar and Alena Šrámková talk about their design, and about what should and shouldn't happen in the building.
The new building of the Czech Technical University developed the last vacant plot of the university campus proposed by professor Engel's 1924 regulatory plan. We wanted to build a sensible building on this spot, something a little leaner, to encourage humility in students here, something simple to ordinary. (...)
The artistic decoration of the building includes color accentuation of parts of the layout. The elevator and lavatories blocks are intensively colored throughout the above-ground part of the building. The lecture hall blocks, including their connecting passages from exterior to interior, are also painted with vibrant colors.
The construction of the building is monolithic reinforced concrete with a core module of 8,000 mm. The ceiling slabs are designed to be beamless, with a constant thickness. Inside walls are concrete, load-bearing and brick walls with acoustic treatment. (...)
The entire building is designed to be highly energy efficient in terms of operating costs.
for the STUDENTS
When we started thinking about the concept of the new school, we reacted subconsciously to the old environment of the school. Why was it that everybody went to school only when they had to go there for practice, consultation and that was it. Teachers maybe sometimes stayed longer for their work. But nobody went there to chat, talk, play, read or think.
People attending the school did not know each other. Contacts were built outside the school - at the dorm, in the society of a club or maybe at lunch in the library. Even the architecture of the school itself did not seem too encouraging for the students of this discipline. So, we reacted to the existing environment, and we were a little afraid that a modern, fully-automated building with lots of glass might communicate to the student that the discipline of architecture was something unusual, and therefore that architects were something special. We, of course, wanted the architecture of the new school to be the best in the world.
So, we designed an ordinary building for the school, but strongly self-confident. The building, which is not too delicate to handle chaos, has its inner dignity and, we believe, it is without an exclusive contemporary design. It also has some elements that are not used much anymore today, making it somewhat old school - to ensure it is future-proof and to make it a little timeless.
This includes, for example, the use of glossy coatings - once so self-evident, but now unusual. Matt paints may hide the irregularities of the foundation, but are non-shiny and less colorful. Also, the consistently carried out partitioning in the restrooms harks back to times past.
On the contrary, we consider the slant of the walls of the lecture rooms as a reminiscence of today's state of construction - to make it possible to date the period of the building's construction. But that strays a bit from the main mass. We feel that the building has a kind of dispositional logic, that no one will get lost, that one can see who is where, and especially where there is no one, and that it will foster more working at school than at home.
We were not entirely able to justify the purity of layout. We were forced to enlarge the teacher's spaces at the expense of the students' space and, mainly, we had to divide the large classrooms and study rooms in half. This somewhat spoiled the simplicity of the layout inside the building, the atrium illumination and the frontage, where we had to divide the large window formats into smaller ones. It was the requirement of proportions for a new school, where there are more pupils today and therefore more teachers than proposed at the time of the original design, in 2004.
It's probably not good to just stick everything anywhere around the school, so the pinkish-purple wall on the ground floor was designed for putting up information, advertising and various announcements. Otherwise, nothing should be stuck to the building's colored walls. In particular, things must not be glued to concrete surfaces under any circumstances.
No cabling is to be pulled along any of the walls. Cables must be bricked into the masonry parts, but this cannot be done in concrete because the grooves cannot be properly cleaned.
Obscuring any view through the glass windows into the corridors is prohibited. Which is a problem between the building concept and the culture of its users. That's probably all that should and should not be done in the building.
We wish you the joy of learning this most beautiful discipline of all.