The school faces the housing – the A frame slabs – through an open social space. A canopy of architectural, metal umbrellas of different geometries extends over the building, covering and connecting the space between the two volumes.
The educational spaces (auditoria-classrooms) occupy self-supported compact volumes, similar to the structure of a mushroom. These elevated structures liberate the ground floor, allowing more permeability and open space. Collective study spaces are housed on the dispersed structures and elevated platforms scattered throughout the school.
The three main levels of the school are organized with the auditoria on the top ring while the common study spaces unfold from the top to the ground through a cascade of irregular plateaus. The ground level holds the foyer/grand hall and the two main auditoriums, as the rest of the communal spaces climb to the first ring, where they begin to relate with the classrooms and study areas.
The space of the “theater” remains unified, even though it is intersected at different levels by the cafeteria, offices, and recreational student areas. The raked classrooms and study areas/boxes face the central void, while the offices, flat classrooms, and the communal spaces on the first ring turn to the surrounding streets.
The “A” frame Housing acts as the backstage for the university’s “theater.” It is composed of two sliding slabs that define a central void. This formation exaggerates the intimacy of the outdoor areas, while reinforcing an east-west public connection. The housing’s position on top of the recreation centre generate a hybrid system, where public, sport, recreational, and academic facilities are seen as a cohesive network that interacts with the dormitories throughout the 13 floors.
The inner-frame generates an intimate central space and spatial density that encourages social interactions between tenants – both students and teachers. In fact, although the brief asked for two entrances and the teachers’ dorms are kept in the first six floors of the northern slab facing the school, there is only one common lobby that also intersects the public route and recreation center.Shared facilities are organized as a separate network growing from the sport centre through the 13th floor: a complex sequence of spaces intersecting the housing slabs at multiple levels.
The sport and recreation centre resists the definition of a unified building, instead existing as a spatial network of different identities that grow around the public route. Its strewn organization promotes complexity, creating the collision of unexpected programs and visitors. The recreation center’s main components, the pool and gymnasium, border the central void, have roofs that can be colonized, and are both pierced by the public route. The facilities of the “gym” expand horizontally and vertically throughout the section of the A frame housing. They connect to the network of the dormitories’ shared facilities. Changing rooms and gyms are accessible and distributed by the public route, while facing the rest of the campus and overlooking the school’s large interior.
The remaining program of the theater, cinema, multimedia lab, ballroom, etc. is concentrated within a single building mass and is solely dedicated for the students’ use. The recreational programs face the large interior of the “theater” learning space, stimulating an exchange of visual and physical connections between different spaces of learning and education.
Partner-in-charge: Rem Koolhaas Associate-in-charge: Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli
Team: Paul Cournet, Alice Gregoire, Ricardo Guedes, Barbara Materia, Francesco Moncada, Pietro Pagliaro, Silvia Sandor, Miguel Taborda
Structure: Buro Happold – Wolf Mangelsdorf
MEP and Sustainability: Buro Happold – Paolo Cresci
Local Architect: Studio Nonis – Fabio Nonis
Urban Planning: Laboratorio Permanente – Nicola Russi
Traffic: TRM Engineering - Michele Rossi
Costs: GAD – Gianpiero Aresi
Model Photography: Frans Parthesius