The footbridge connects the Auditorium Building with the existing so-called “Black Box” within the University Campus of TU Eindhoven. It aims to be as transparent as possible in order to leave the scene to the other existing buildings. It is a very simple and fine line of glass and steel.
There are two ways to pass through it: either inside, in a fast, direct and climate-controlled manner or outside on the roof, for a nice walk and a nice view in the fresh air. The transparency is obtained by using glass both for cladding and for the structural elements. The glass lamelles and the corridor glass panels allow the façades to mutate in several different ways, following season and daytime changing, giving life and light to the building and its surrounding.
The climatic system that regulates temperature inside the footbridge is based on natural principles. The building transpires during summertime when the air gets inside through the glass lamelles and the corridor glass panels, This allows for a natural way of refreshing and cooling the inner climate. During wintertime the air passes through the two layers of glass and gets heated by the sun, warming the inner climate.
The entrance of the campus is made by the composition of the existing buildings with the footbridge and it highlights the transition from the city environment to the university system. The main function of the footbridge, as a link, is accomplished with the shortest and easiest alignment: a straight line.
Even so, other functions find place in the design: it is a space that might be filled every time with different elements, either for exposition, information, working and, above all, relaxing purposes. The people movement is also related to the two small support buildings (the vertical and the horizontal ones) which connect vertically the footbridge with the ground and create new spaces.
The task is not just about the design of an entrance element, but of a building that might positively affect the entrance site, considering the planned new boulevard. Urban landscape plays an important role as the nature underneath the footbridge penetrates into the Campus and it relates with the footbridge in order to make the place enjoyable also for resting and relaxing.
The transformation of the site includes the restoration of the “Black Box” as a new information and student service point: this will be the first building visitors coming from the city will physically meet. It should welcome people and allow them to enter and comprehend the Campus system. It is a human-scale building that projects people into the giant Campus.
Here people can gather round, get together, get information and orientate themselves. The entire project is actually conceived as a welcome manifest, a huge panel for the transmission of data, with messages, clues and hints for students and visitors.
Developed as part of a workshop at the University of Eindhoven in collaboration with Bram de Maat, Oscar Jimenez and Raul Pleite.
Westra J., Willems M., Passerelle: atelier européen, technologie de l’architecture, Eindhoven University of Technology Publishing, Eindhoven 2003