The main challenge of [Inter.National.Design] and Erginoğlu + Çalışlar for this project is to arrive to a proposal that could articulate not only an interesting and comfortable life for the users of the campus, but to take this opportunity to improve the urban articulation of this site located in front of the famous city wall, near the frozen zone of the tourist strip of Varosha and next to a potentially dynamic avenue. The campus should also serve as a place of social and cultural encounter open to all citizens, in that sense it should be a campus of excellence qualities of public space and accessibility. Finally, their last goal is be able to arrive to a formal scheme that can also integrate the dispersed and mixed presence of historic buildings and turning them from nuisances into assets of the university life. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Although at first glance our proposal seems like an obvious formal response to the neighbor city walls context, we want to emphasize that this it is not the main reason why we chose to go for a scheme that might resemble the walled city. Our strategy for the University Campus can be better described as a set of strategies formalized at different levels, each with its own characteristic component while preserving a loose unity between its parts.
The city walls that encounter the north face of the campus give the campus a prestigious position within the city. This proximity with one of the main characteristics of the history of the place should give the campus an added cultural value. Nevertheless the campus inner life should not be entirely open to the potentially polluting effects of the car traffic of Fevzi Çakmak Bldv. The predominant effect of the ground floor in the scheme conditions the figure ground effects shown in this panel that affect the use of public space and the encounter of the city with the campus.
To the western side of Polatpaça Blvd. we propose an open green square arranged in an angle that welcomes the visitor and makes the link with the directorate more subtle. The open park is surrounded by two low strip buildings that conform the triangular space while one of the historic structures to be preserved is kept at the center. The old building surrounded by the new architecture contributes to give a hybrid identity of the university between different eras.
For the eastern side of the campus meanwhile we propose a more intimate square. The square follows the alignment of the two side streets that reach Ilker Karter Cd (street) conforming another irregular public space. The ground floor beneath the strips here is permeable at key points allowing students and visitors to enter the campus smoothly. Yet this face is more continuous responding to the loose character of the eastern urban condition.
The core of the campus is an intimate green court. The court has a long north –south strip that connects the remaining historic buildings in one flat continuous surface starting with the south atelier (university dining hall) and ending in two university shops at the historic structures of Fevzi Çakmak Bldv. The green court strip connects to the three lower courtyards making it a central place of encounters between th e different faculty staff and students. The open green space can also function as garden open to public.
The scheme at ground level could be read as continuous strip that binds the campus into a single entity united by a clear landscape enriched by the loose arrangement of historic buildings. Despite the suggested unity of the campus the main distribution of program is located in three semi autonomous clusters that can develop independently with program and time following their own particular characteristics. The three northwest and southern west cluster are united loosely through an open pergola. While the eastern cluster is united through the central grass court and stone pavings.
Formally speaking the strip is porous enough to allow natural ventilation to pass and to become accessible to pedestrians from all directions. The porous part is enriched with collective use such as seating places, lockers, stairs and halls. This proposal of not enclosing the whole buildings and leaving some open air spaces will contribute to improve the performance of the building in terms of energy savings, and enjoyment of the healthy weather of Famagusta.
The rest of the program of the strip is located within transparent glass boxes protected from the sun by offsetting them from the façade. The main character of this spaces are their easy accessibility from the public such as meeting rooms, computer labs, information points and administration offices and instructors rooms. The program of these boxes varies per cluster yet all maintain the same principle of not arriving to the façade allowing with this continuous movement of the university users in a column-less portico.
The strips also contain the access point to the 5 cubic buildings. The location of the cores of these buildings serves as both symbolic entrance to the strips and as places of social encounter. At each face of the campus in the turning point of the site an articulation of the strip takes place in the form of trapezoids. This places function both as entrance to the lower courtyard and as informal meeting places for lectures or small concerts for example.
The preservation of the historic structures will enrich the visual contrast between buildings of different eras while they will serve as articulators of the campus visually and functionally speaking. Each historic building will have a particular function that best suits its position and characteristics of each structure. What we propose here is a mere suggestion of which building could be occupied with certain activity.
While the ground floor is a porous and transparent strip, the 1st level is to certain extent its opposite. Its program is much densely arranged and its regularity of rhythm of classrooms contrasts with the loose arrangement of furniture and buildings in the ground floor. We propose to have the open air corridors in a similar mode as the ground floor improving the quality of natural ventilation.
Classrooms requiring more intimacy and insulation are furnished with vertical adjustable louvers along the strip facades. The louvers colors and depth will vary with the orientation, being more open and thin to the north and of more depth and density to the west for example. The point of connection with the ground floor besides the vertical circulation will be the articulated trapezoidal spaces of triple height.
The campus so far has been described as the combination of building strips, grass courts and historic buildings. Our last element is the position of 5 cubic buildings distributed in an informal way across the building strip. The overview of the 5 cubes will give an identity to the campus from outside while be useful as way to navigate between the different schools and faculties. The cubes also take advantage of the proximity of the sea and the walled city, contributing to engage the campus further in the city life and urban profile.
The cubes role is to accommodate program which is either too specific or by default outside the subtle dimensions of both the low building strips or the historic buildings. In this sense we propose to use this specificity of each cube to give the campus more diversity. Formal wise the cubes appear to sit gently on top of the building strips with the extension of specific columns that look for proper places to land. The cubes are not of the same dimension, and each follows its own internal formal and structural logic. The cube of the northwest cluster for example accommodates among its functions a basketball court and a group of squash courts. Both of these spaces require considerable spans to free of obstacles the ground. The specific structure of these elements is reflected in the image of the cube giving it a special identity.
A much more delicate cube in the southeastern side contains the accommodation of students and staff and so the cube is rather more fragmented in scale reflecting the smaller gaps in its façade to the campus. The library meanwhile is located in the south western face of the campus, responding to the location of other public buildings in Polatpasa Blvd. The library program gives a great opportunity to create a cube with an internal void that displays the books in its central space.
All of the cubes have access to the roof of the building strip converting this space in a dynamic terrace space located approximately at the height of the city walls.
Architects: [Inter.National.Design] and Erginoğlu + Çalışlar (Kerem Erginoğlu, Arman Akdoğan, Hasan Celal Çalışlar, Felix Madrazo) Location: Famagusta, Cyprus Project Team: Bas van der Horst, Hans Larsson, Alvaro Novas, Andreia Penaloza, Albert Richters, Antonio Goya, Zeynep Melike Atay, Gokcen van Vliet Client: Istanbul Technical University Size: 55,000 sqm Completion: 2013