PMF, Faculty of Science

Zagreb, Croatia, 2014

education, public programe

open international competition

Zagreb, Croatia

Total floor area
30.339 m2

SADAR+VUGA (Jurij Sadar, Boštjan Vuga, Miha Čebulj, Grega Mervič, Gregor Turnšek, Stipe Filipović)

Landscape architecture
Studio AKKA (Ana Kučan, Luka Javornik)

The new building for the Faculty for biology, geography and geology is implemented in the southern part of the Zagreb Campus North. The area is characterized by freestanding faculty and institute premises, large block structures surrounded by greenery of lawns and trees. In the immediate contact of these premises from the second half on the 20th century, there are detached single family houses and recent residential developments. The theological faculty at the southern edge of the campus, implemented in the observatory is a large block structure with an inner courtyard.

The new the PMF faculty mediates and negotiates between these different typologies of the macro context. This is a rectangular block volume with a large atrium in the middle, which with its positioning, size and shape reacts to specifics of its immediate surroundings.

The volume is set back from the street, creating a buffer zone with a tree line between the street and the building on the western side. It creates a green zone with a pedestrian passage towards the residential building on the south, following the street line on the east.

On the northern site it is set back and opens up towards the east, thus a big campus plaza is created. Campus plaza is connected through the entrance lobby of the PMF faculty to its inner atrium.

There are three starting points of our design:

1. interactive school environment/studyscape
2. hybridization between a school environment and a public space: school as a permeable institution
3. sustainable school environment, providing wellbeing and comfort

These starting point guided us to a design of a very compact rectangular volume with a large atrium in the middle. The tripartite organization of the volume is based on the steepness of the existing terrain. The open public character of the campus plaza is therefore continued to the entrance level and the atrium of the PMF building. From here up the internal upper bock with labs and cabinets and a common spaces with classrooms is developed from the entrance level down the internal lower block contains parking garage, labs and a greenhouse at the southern corner of the building, spreading through two floors.

The three partite organization of the building is clearly visible at all sides of the building.

Glass facades of the upper and lower block are entirely wrapped by horizontal lamellas whose width and angle changes according to the insulation, i. e. on which side of the building they are positioned. This creates a very monolithic, almost abstract appearance of the building, which is interrupted by the entrance level with transparent perimeter of large common spaces (library, conference rooms, foyers…) with a series of terraces and open spaces. Thus, the common, social and interactive life of the PMF faculty is projected to its immediate surroundings, such as lecturers in the halls on the east, relaxing on the covered terrace on the south and outdoor reading on the west.

Atrium is the most important place of the entire PMF faculty. The atrium becomes the ‘added value’ of the entire northern campus. It is a very particular place, positioned between a large entrance foyer of the faculty on one side and transient café opening to the southern terrace on the other side. This is unusual and un-expectable place where students, teachers, spontaneous visitors meet. It is an attractive public space plugged in the faculty of PMF.