Silver grey cement composite panels, glass and Rheinzink metal – the modern technological appearance of the façade of the new building, which was recently opened by the University of Maribor, reflects its interior life: this is where electronic engineers and computers scientists are trained.
The University of Maribor began constructing its engineering faculty in Koroska Street in the 1970s. At the time it was necessary to engage experts to repair war damage and meet the requirements of personnel. Recently, it is mainly the rapidly growing informatics and electronics sectors that are dependent on university graduates. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Maribor (FERI) has grown in recent years to 266 employees and 3000 students, who finally had to been divided up over four different localities owing to lack of space. The construction of the new building meant that the faculty could be reunited in one place.
The new building closes one of the last gaps on the university ground. It is located on the corner of Prežihova Street and Koroška Street and consists of three volumes that define a covered atrium in the middle. The first volume contains four large auditoriums and forms the spine of the building. The second, ring-shaped volume runs parallel to Prežihova Street and accommodates laboratories and classrooms. The street façade is – in conformity wit the shape of the volumes – clad with horizontal cement composite panels. Irregularly placed slits equipped with permanent but movable lamella function as openings. When the lamella are closed, the façade is smooth and uniformly grey; when they are open, it is not only the surface structure that changes but also the colour effect since the undersides of the lamella contrast with the grey of the cement composite. The third volume is built directly onto an existing building in Koroska Street, and together they describe a large courtyard. Here, too, the façade is characterized by silver grey cement composite panels and horizontal openings; the slit windows are, however, uninterrupted and are constructed as movable grids for sun protection.