New Doctorate’s Building, National University Bogota / Steven Holl Architects


The importance of the National University of campus began with its enlightened master plan by the architect Leopold Rother in the 1930s. With its green center, classical axiality, and layered concentricity, the campus contains some wonderful examples of architecture.

Architects: Steven Holl Architects
Design Architects: Steven Holl, Chris McVoy, Garrick Ambrose
Senior Partner in Charge: Chris McVoy
Project Architect: Garrick Ambrose
Project Team: Johanna Muszbek, Scott Fredricks, Dimitra Tsachrelia
Location: Bogota, Colombia
Project Area: 70,000 sqf

© Steven Holl Architects

We envision the new Doctorate’s Building re-energizing the original master plan, shaping campus green space. While buildings of the 1970s clogged the inner green of the original master plan, our new building aims to turn that closure inside out, re-establishing green space definitions.

The moderate climate of Bogota (cool summers and temperate winters) allows for space turned “inside out” to be at the heart of the new building section. The life of the school, with students moving back and forth on exterior walks, is evident in this central open social space.

© Steven Holl Architects

The 6400sm two-story building rises in section at the main gathering space. From the building’s 600-seat auditorium, a roof begins to warp upwards, shaping a campus gate-like pergola. Here sun-protected social space is aligned to one of the original diagonals of the Rother plan. The campus entry approaches and the central axis are linked in the new building and its green space, opening up new porous routes of movement.

© Steven Holl Architects

The south arm of the building rises up in a cantilevered restaurant with roof terraces and mountain views. The north arm turns down into the landscape opening to an “upside-down” portion, shaping a grotto water garden. A continuous flow of rain water and grey water are linked in this lower basin; a reflecting pool at the auditorium emits the sound of slowly pouring water.

The water recycle system is driven by solar photovoltaic cells on the roof, which also provide 15% of the electrical power for the new structure. High-performance reinforced concrete joins local woods and Bogota stone in a palette of material resonance and ecological innovation.

Cite: Minner, Kelly. "New Doctorate’s Building, National University Bogota / Steven Holl Architects" 17 May 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • Eduardo Varela Hernandez

    we saw steven holl conference here in colombia and it was very motivating his approach to architecture.

    specially in this times where information spreads so fast and architecture tends to become a copy/paste fact, holl insists in avodinig this types of things, and instead looking on the inside of the spirit for possible expressions of architecture.

    by this schemes and models and his watercolor we can expect a major piece of art in the national university.

    we are very proud to have his masterpiece here in Colombia.

    Looking forward to see more drawings and sketches :)!

  • Steve

    I can see this project failing like his MIT project…let me guess, this building will exemplify the idea of porosity… Ta-da!