Educational Centre of the Medical Faculty of Charles University / DOMY

© Filip Šlapal

Architects: DOMY
Location: Prague,
Client: Medical Faculty in Hradec Kralove
Design Team: Michal Juha, Jan Topinka in co-operation with Roman Repa and Edita Mojzisova
Project Manager: Danica Havlikova
Cost: EUR 3 900 000
Total volume: 11,170 m3
Built up area: 1,060 sqm
Total useful area: 2,070 sqm
Photographs: Filip Šlapal

© Filip Šlapal

Decorative furnishings hanging from roof of lobby and chairs were provided by Vitra. Atypical interior elements and tables were provided by KBV Hradec Králové Carpentry. The statue of the renowned pathologist and Hradec Králové native MUDr. Rokitanský in the lobby is the work of sculptor Prof. Vladimír Preclík.

© Filip Šlapal

Architectural and urban solution:

The original idea to build a teaching centre came about as part of an architectural competition for construction of the pavilions of internal medicine of the Faculty Hospital. The winning proposal, by architects J. Topinka, J. Líman, and M. Juha, placed the teaching centre in the middle of a new central area, in front of the new pavilion of internal medicine which faces northeast. The building was located directly on an existing transforming station which was subsequently covered by a new green covering hill. A glazed-in lecture hall was its dominant feature. Preparation of the building project was interrupted and not renewed until after completion of construction of the pavilion of internal medicine in 2003, when the university reconsidered how the building would be used. At that time, the number of seats in the seminar rooms and in the main lecture hall was increased. The computer lab was expanded, as was the library. This expansion, however, called for a change in concept of the whole building. The idea of building the new centre on top of the transforming station was abandoned.

© Filip Šlapal

Project authors M. Juha and J. Topinka chose to construct the new teaching centre as the product of two sweeping curves, these curves being the building’s main artistic motif, with an ellipse forming them. This ellipse rises in two different heights from the pavilion’s interior, only to return to the ground upon culmination. These curves define the shape of the roof and demarcate the two main sections of the building. The larger and longer one, with a striking light glass façade with the internal medicine pavilion marks the boundary of the entry area to both buildings and closes the south side of the central area in the hospital. It includes the seminar rooms, the library, a computer lab, and service rooms. The shorter and lower but wider object holds the lecture hall. The goal of this solution was to avoid competing with other pavilions and not to block the internal pavilion from sight, while at the same time creating a memorable building which could be distinguished from the other buildings on the hospital’s grounds, emphasising its different function. The whole project is based on contrasts. The building’s curves leading to the centre, are balanced by more moderate forms. The fair-face architectural concrete is in contrast to the perfectly processed metal and the elegance of the glass. The grey colour of the architectural concrete contrasts with the natural beauty of the wood, the closed spaces alternate with unexpected openings and the glass façade.

Technical solution

The teaching centre is composed of two expansion sections, with one of these created by the building of the teaching centre itself and the other by a connecting hall to the pavilion’s internal areas. The actual teaching centre has external measurements of 27.65 x 47.75 m, with a height of 11.85 m. The connecting hall measures 17.85 m x 2.95 m, with a height of 3.85 m.

© Filip Šlapal

The building itself has three aboveground floors, the connecting hall just one. The building does not contain any underground floors.

It is constructed as a combination of a reinforced concrete wall system and a girder frame. The roofing is partially reinforced concrete shell, partially reinforced concrete roof slabs. The building is constructed on a foundation resting on piles.

© Filip Šlapal

Construction technology used:

- Fair-face concrete in the interior and exterior, external concrete walls as outer parts of sandwich construction are anchored to the main internal bearing walls.

- The XYPEX system, based on chemical crystallisation in concrete constructions, was used for water-resistant insulation of the building. This system also provides joints and crawl spaces with the help of a combination of cement and sealing. Prevention of radon absorption in the building is provided by the hydroinsulation system WATERFIN which is applied to the concrete subfloor.

© Filip Šlapal

- The roof is designed in the Kalzip system based on an unbroken aluminium strip fitted directly to the roof construction. The ceiling’s curved roof plates are secured against weather by the hydroinsulation system WATERFIN and a protective finish, Betosil W, with a silicone-acrylate resin.

- The wooden acoustic facing of the lecture hall was proposed by the architects with the help of acoustics specialists. It is composed of three surfaces – resonance panels, normal panels, and panels with a hard reverberant surface.

- The teaching centre is equipped with the most modern audiovisual, communication, and instructional technology.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Educational Centre of the Medical Faculty of Charles University / DOMY" 15 Dec 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=191477>

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