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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. University
  4. South Africa
  5. MLB Architects
  6. 2014
  7. Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine / MLB Architects

Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine / MLB Architects

  • 05:00 - 5 January, 2017
Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine / MLB Architects
Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine / MLB Architects, © Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

© Wieland Gleich              © Wieland Gleich              © Wieland Gleich              © Wieland Gleich              + 19

  • Architects

  • Location

    Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Architects in Charge

    Erik Janse van Rensburg, Peter Kraus, Xico Meirelles
  • Area

    10000.0 ft2
  • Project Year

    2014
  • Client Team (SU Facilities Management):

    Gretha Jacobs, Maggie Walters, Kevin Matthew, Anton Kriel, Junaid Gafieldien
  • Structural Engineers

    KFD Wilkinson Consulting Engineers
  • Mechanical Engineers

    Triocon Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd.
  • Electrical Engineers

    Triocon Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd.
  • Acoustic Engineers

    Andrew Wade – Sound Research Laboratories – South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
  • Landscape Architect

    Danielle Cloete DCLA
  • Quantity Surveyor

    DV Boland Consulting (Pty) Ltd.
  • Consultants/Other Specialists

    Health & Safety Consultant: Safe Smart
  • More Specs Less Specs
© Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

Text description provided by the architects. The client for this project was SU's Facilities Management,with the end user being SU’s Faculty of Medicine. The brief called for two 450 seater auditoriums, with break out areas. The budget was tight, the program fast-tracked and siting crucial.   

© Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

This building had to be located close to the existing Teaching Hub, while not affecting campus parking & landscaping. Of the three potential sites identified, this one was selected for its ability to comply with the above prerequisites, while offering more. 

© Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

By 'docking' into the Teaching Hub, with auditoriums straddling the axis, the opportunity arose to create a new iconic entrance. This also reinforced the axis, linking the Student Union to the Teaching Hub, bringing it indoors, transforming the row of trees into columns. 

Ground Floor Plan
Ground Floor Plan

Scale & Massing were important urban design considerations. A low profile was maintained, so to not block a visual connection to the Teaching Hub building behind it. Even so, ± 4,5m internal ceiling heights were maintained appropriately-scaled to internal public space. 

© Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

The Tygerberg campus lacked a focal outdoor space, as in UCT's Jameson steps. These new entrance steps were thus designed to establish symbolic interface. The platforms out of which steps were carved, also serve as seats, while also having planters for trees. 

© Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

The low profile also gave the building good human scale. Straddling the 2 auditoriums over an axis,created the opportunity for a looser composition of solids. These were fronted by a biomorphic break out area, its asymmetry held together by the axis cutting through it.

© Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

The West-facing, glazed 'fish bowl', break-out area presented its own difficulties, which in turn, triggered design solutions. Firstly was the need for precise sun control measures. Secondly the quest to also capture good outward views to the campus gardens.  

© Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

A layer of vertical sun control fins was thus added to the West elevation, manufactured from Hulabond sandwich panels, perforated with stylized DNA patterns. The patterns & signage were designed in collaboration with renowned graphic designer, Robin Lancaster.

© Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

Considerable effort went into auditorium design - size, shape, raking, seating, finishes, lighting & services. The faceted plan was found to be efficient for sight-lines, acoustics & distance from lecturer, while strict lines of geometry where imposed on services, for visual order. 

© Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

A complex arrangement of communication, climate control, power, lighting, audio visual, acoustic & fire detection services were incorporated. The consultant team was managed by a high level of coordination, to achieve functionally efficient, visually uncluttered interiors.

© Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

Product Description.

The most significant material used in the project is that of the Hulabond aluminum screens.

Part of the client’s vision was to have break-way spaces from the main auditorium that would have a visual connection with the campus surroundings. Due to the orientation of the new building with relation to the old, a clear, unshaded Western façade was not possible. In response to this climatic barrier, the architects decided to introduce vertical sunscreens that were pivoted in such a way that the sun would be blocked out, and the view only partially obscured. 

© Wieland Gleich
© Wieland Gleich

Using aluminum made sense for various reasons. The product is light weight which made the manufacturing of these large fins easy. Being in a coastal area the corrosive properties and durability of the material is also advantages. From an aesthetic point of view, aluminum has a clean and contemporary appearance and could be punctured with a DNA pattern to let in additional filtered light. 

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine / MLB Architects" 05 Jan 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/802690/stellenbosch-university-faculty-of-medicine-mlb-architects/> ISSN 0719-8884