Creating a Learning Environment with Texlon® ETFE
The Glasir-Tórshavn College is a new education center on the Faroe Islands, housing three different schools in one state-of-the-art building. The Faroe Islands High School, the Tórshavn Technical College, and the Business College, found their new home within the new architectural landmark. The different wings are connected through an enormous atrium, covered with a stunning Texlon® ETFE roof by Vector Foiltec.
The Islands of Maybe: A Sheltered Space No Matter the Weather
The Glasir building was designed with the typical Faroese topography in mind. The central space and courtyard of the education center is over 30 meters long and represents the terraced natural landscape surrounding the school. Due to the harsh Faroese climate, the courtyard needed to be covered to make it usable all year round. As a matter of fact, the Faroe is also called the “Islands of Maybe”. This name originates from the unpredictable and very changeable weather of the Islands. In a single day, the brightest sunshine can be followed by dense fog. These circumstances call for a sheltered space. The atrium of the Glasir building is covered by a 1,430 m² Texlon® ETFE roof with the longest of the 17 cushions measuring 37 meters.
The courtyard can be used as a meeting space for smaller and larger groups and events. Due to its many steps and terraces, it even offers enough seating to be used as a gathering space for announcements.
Making the Most Out of Natural Sunlight
We’ve already covered the fact that the Faroe Islands are known for their harsh climate. These circumstances must be taken into consideration when building with any material. The ETFE cushions for this project are made up from five foil layers to insure proper insulation.
ETFE is an extremely transparent material, making it the perfect choice to allow abundant daylight to enter any space. For example, in hotter climates, the foil layers can be printed with various patterns to minimize heat gain. In the case of the Glasir building, all five foil layers are fully transparent to let as much daylight in as possible – even in the dark Faroese winter months. As a result, the courtyard merges the feeling of being outdoors with the comfort of being inside.
|Bjarke Ingles Group
Images Copyright: Rasmus Hjortshøj
Creating Save and Comfortable Public Spaces
Our Texlon® ETFE system offers several benefits for highly frequented buildings, like schools and colleges. The Tórshavn Education Center serves as a working and educational environment for over 1,750 teachers, students, and staff. In comparison with other transparent materials, ETFE offers a lower reverberation time. This means that the sound generated by building occupants passes through the ETFE foil and is not reflected in the space below. This way the courtyard produces less of an echo, making it a more comfortable environment.
Furthermore, ETFE stands out for its fire safety. In fact, ETFE has a melting point of approximately 260°C. In the event of a fire, it does not promote the spread of flames because it self-extinguishes and does not generate any flaming droplets or particles. This makes the material a great choice for public buildings.
On top of that, a Texlon® ETFE system requires minimal maintenance. It is durable and temperature resistant. The surface of the cushions is very smooth, preventing dirt and dust from adhering to them.
Stormy Times Don’t Stop Us
Vector Foiltec not only designed, manufactured, and installed the ETFE for the Tórshavn Education Center. Additionally, we were also awarded the steel structure for the atrium. The secluded location of the Faroe Islands made the logistics side of this project quite challenging. However, due to our international network and global expertise we are able to realize projects no matter the location.
Another challenge were the harsh winds, which are quite typical for Faroe. The unpredictable weather on the islands makes installation difficult, especially at great heights. On top of that, the cushions for the atrium at Glasir were very big with lengths up to 37 meters. To succeed even under tricky circumstances like these, the right team is indispensable. Vector Foiltec’s installation team consists of fully trained rope access technicians, who are familiar with the levels of careful handling associated with Texlon® ETFE foil systems. No matter how difficult the task, their level of professionalism and experience make our installation process a success time and time again.
Do you have a challenging project on your hands? Give our team a call to learn more about how we can make the process easy and smooth for you.