Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences CZU innovates teaching. It opened a modern High-tech Pavilion.
Smaller study groups and state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities. All this can be found in the newly opened High-tech Educational Pavilion of the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences CZU in Prague. In addition to the innovative technological background, the building made of cast concrete, wood and glass also has a number of sustainable technologies, such as a green roof and a recuperation system for heating and cooling.
In the autumn of 2019, the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences CZU (FFWS) opened a brand-new building – the High-tech Educational Pavilion. The building and its equipment significantly enrich teaching and research at the Czech University of Life Sciences. "This is the only educational workplace in the Czech Republic that has the most modern technologies that will be used by future foresters, wood processors, and hunters," said Professor Marek Turčáni, Dean of the FFWS. The new facility makes it possible to better connect teaching with practice and increases students' practical knowledge. "We have reduced the number of students in study groups to 12 individuals; the arrangement of classrooms and teaching laboratories allows us to teach more individually," the Dean explained. Thanks to this innovative change, students can better understand the topic and try everything in practice.
The construction of the Pavilion was carried out on the basis of an internal architectural competition. In terms of high-tech technologies, one third of the building is equipped with an optical distribution computer network and a special classroom with 12 computers enabling their interconnection to a supercomputer.
This special PC classroom allows direct connection to the drone classroom, where data obtained by remote sensing of the Earth is downloaded and large research drones are maintained. The Pavilion also offers a number of laboratories equipped with the latest technologies. The building houses two lecture rooms with 3D projection and interactive projection boards. Furthermore, a 3D modelling laboratory with powerful scanners, a 3D printer, and a modern software background. The scanner, which has an accuracy of hundredths of a millimetre, is used to measure the skulls of animals, the so-called craniometry. The cranial dimensions may indicate sexual dimorphism, reflect the state of the environment in which the individual occurs, and thus offer a unique opportunity to study populations from different areas of occurrence and compare them with each other. The skull and lower jaw directly correlate with the weight of the individual, so in a way it also demonstrates the condition of the animal.
An interesting feature of the Pavilion is the ergonomics laboratory, where we can find, among other things, an electronic shooting simulator. The simulator, located in a room with a precise square floor plan, is used for research into the ergonomics of handling weapons and for the actual teaching of shooting, as it can accurately measure the speed and distance of the shooter when shooting at a target. After each shot, it is possible to observe how the shooter copied the trajectory of the flying target, whether they fired with the wrong side and height correction, and they can also simulate what the shot would look like if they fired with different ammunition, calibre or type of projectile. Thanks to the simulator, it is also possible to precisely determine the parameters for the production of a customised gunstock. Around the world, this simulator has been used to improve shooting by several Olympians, such as the Slovak Danka Barteková.
"Laboratories for teaching and learning about wood and other biomaterials were built on the second floor. The devices enable monitoring of various phases of combustion and thermal and smoke properties of the examined materials," described the Head of Dean’s Office of the FFWS, Dr. Martin Prajer. From the laboratory of structural elements of wooden buildings it is even possible to see all the way to the roof and to the sky, as a special testing machine is higher than the ceiling and its location was solved using a skylight.
Great attention was paid to microscopy and modern imaging methods when building and equipping the Pavilion. In zoology, students currently have the opportunity to observe sea animals live, such as sea cucumbers, Christmas tree worms, or horseshoe crabs. The Pavilion has two laboratories for electron microscopy and one for computed tomography (CT scanner). Thanks to these laboratories, the study programme Preservation of Products of Nature and Taxidermy is being modernized. Transmission and scanning electron microscopes are used for entomology and physiology of woody plants and a CT scanner for forest zoology and hunting. One of its purposes is, for example, to determine the age of animals and game, developmental degenerative changes, and also to research the wounding effects of projectiles on game. Currently, the study of the wounding effect of lead-free projectiles and projectiles containing lead on game is in progress. Teaching is focused on new methods of measuring skulls, bones, antlers and horns and modern methodologies for measuring trophies are compiled. Thanks to these methods, the possibility of studying antlers is deepened because the CT scanner can display the structure of the antler on the basis of density (attenuation of rays passing through the object) in all its parts, which will provide valuable information about the effects on its growth, without the need for cutting. The CT scanner will also be used in teaching anatomy, osteology, and also subjects in the Preservation of Products of Nature and Taxidermy study programme.
In addition, the building uses sustainable technologies. The roof is green and allows monitoring of trees and soil using sensors located in the soil and planted trees in the online mode. Heating and cooling is solved by an energy recovery system. The green roof also captures rainwater, which is not drained into the sewer but is returned to the ground at a depth of about 10 m by means of infiltration wells. "We place great emphasis on sustainability, especially when constructing new buildings. This applies in the case of the High-tech Pavilion, as well as the Pavilion of Tropical Agriculture, which is currently under construction,“ added CZU Rector, Professor Petr Sklenička. The entire Pavilion also meets the requirements for students with special needs and has complete barrier-free access.
Teaching in the FFWS High-Tech Technology Pavilion started at the beginning of the winter semester of the new academic year. Its opening took place on 9th October, 2019 with the participation of the CZU Rector Professor Petr Sklenička, Deputy Minister for Forestry of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic Patrik Mlynář, Deputy for Management of the Nature and Landscape Protection Section of the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic Dr. Vladimír Dolejský, the Dean of FFWS Professor Marek Turčáni and the FFWS Head of Dean’s Office Dr. Martin Prajer.
Interesting facts about the Pavilion:
- The building has 21.8 km of electrical cables and 46.5 km of data cables, 169 electrical outlets and 326 data outlets.
- Cast basalt tiles are laid on more than 1250 m2 of the Pavilion, ensuring permanent resistance to all chemical and mechanical influences.
- In 1/3 of the building, the computer network is distributed using optical fibres.
- The total cost of building the High-tech Pavilion amounted to approximately 190 million CZK, the project was financed from 95% of the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education (73% EU resources, 22% state budget resources) and 5% from the CZU budget.