Semifinalist proposal in the inner selection process of the company
Expansion of an university campus.
Designed during the professional experience at
The Architectural Design and Research Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology
Company website ⧉
Masterplan and conceptual design of the extension of an university campus.
Shenzhen, 深圳 in Chinese, is a metropolis in southern China with more than 10.000.000 inhabitants. If the number itself is overwhelming, when one takes into accout that before 1980 the city did not exist, the fact that we are facing an exceptional situation becomes really clear.
Shenzhen is born with the creation of a Special Economic Zone in the area neighborging the former British colony of Hong Kong. This move, together with low land prices, made many Hong Kong-based businesses move to Shenzhen, rapidly building the vast city it is nowadays.
Built in a tropical zone and close to the sea, the climate has mild winters but very warm summers, and that combined with the high humidity generates an intense sultry weather with frequent monsoon rainfall.
Currently, Shenzhen is one of the main economic hubs in China, and as such, apart from the large number of businesses and inhabitants, it is a leading city in terms of research, housing campuses of various universities.
The Harbin Institute of Technology is a Chinese university based in the city of Harbin, in the northwest of the country, but which has campuses in Weihai and Shenzhen as well. In the last one, the campus is relatively new and had to be built in two phases (one already built). The institution, though, decided commissioning a new project to redesign the second unbuilt phase. Therefore, the project would have to answer to the preexistence of the first phase so give the final campus a logical layout.
Above other things, the commission mainly asked for a large amount of student housing space, aside from classroom buildings, office space, and an auditorium.
Given the climate characteristics of Shenzhen, the first automatic reaction was to design the project spaces as compact as possible, or at least to have the different elements of the layout joint together by closed corridors so that they could be climatized. This strategy is a fairly common way to deal with the climate in southern China.
To position the project in the surroundings and make it identifiable, a visibility study was made from various key points in the surroundings. In the point of maximum visibility, an outstanding element would be placed.
When studying the built phase of the campus, it revealed a structure by which the buildings were organized around a central park that was left open in the side facing our site, as if it were waiting that the relative semicircle of the buildings around it were completed on the second phase. Therefore, this layout was kept in the new design to give coherence to the global campus. Substracting the central park space, the area for the new buildings had an Y-like shape.
The strategy for the occupation of this space was the following:
The western zone was dedicated to student housing so that the old and new student housing areas were together. The housing was designed as highrises, paralleling the already built one. However, the typology is changed, departing from the usual one built in China (which sometimes ends up being disfunctional in terms of ventilation, sunlight, and so on), and designing a new tower model with appartments on two sides (east-west) and a central open space with garden terraces every four levels. This way, all the apartments in the towers have a good amount of sunlight, and also the possibility of cross-ventilation, convenient for the climate in Shenzhen.
The masterplan of the project had two promenades articulate the 'Y' shape of the building space. This meant there were perimetral buildings (housing offices and departments) that acted as a barrier for the possible noise coming from outside the campus, and inner buildings in which the classorems and research spaces were, far from the outside noise. In the center of the 'Y', as a singular element welcoming the visitors entering from the main access.
View of the auditorium and the two promenades.
The promenades are covered by truss porticos that join the outer and inner buildings together, giving a galeria-like ambience to these public spaces. Elevated, closed corridors joining all of the buildings together go through the spaces in the lateral truss pillars. The proposal also has textile layers hanged from these porticos to protect the promenades with its shadow on the harshest moments of summer.