Italian architects MORQ recently won a competition to design the University of Canberra Campus in Australia. More images and architect’s description after the break.
Our design for the Concourse proposes a strategy that activates spatial relationships between the existing buildings, that hold the memory of the campus, the existing trees, that hold the memory of the territory, and the climate conditions.
The aim of the strategy is to connect the parts of the existing structure of the Campus and to integrate the old with the new. While the existing buildings possess a certain quality of architectural honesty, we feel that they do not define a space of urban quality and identity.
We believe that the identity of the Campus should be one of a layered structure between the future and the past. Our strategy works at two different scales: at a territorial scale, defining a connecting axis between College St and Pantawora St, and at an urban scale, creating various spatial configurations and degrees of enclosure within the Central Concourse.
The Territorial scale
Along the main axis, a grid of pathways generates a system of semi enclosed plazas, defined by the massing of the future buildings, providing a sense of structure while maintaining open outlooks and visual permeability. Tall light canopies mark the two main entrances of the Campus.
The Urban Scale
A light floating structure comprising canopies, glazed enclosures and elevated volumes creates a rich variety of spaces and light conditions, links buildings and extends permeability. This structure becomes more articulated towards the hub, which is retained but redesigned as a central void with a stronger connection with the concourse level. Four Elevated Volumes sit above the central hub with entries on the ground floor.
The Fringe Canopies run along the Eastern and Southern edges of the Concourse. These are ��express ways�� of pedestrian traffic connecting plaza, buildings and landscape. With most direct movement occurring beneath fringe canopies, pedestrian speed in the central plaza is reduced.
The Western Canopy projects from Buildings 8 and 5 extending into the heart of the concourse. Where it is intersected by Existing Trees a network of Skylights and openings pierce the roof allowing the trees to pass through. Solid and louvered Central Canopies are scattered across the open central court. Beneath the central canopies and elevated volumes, pedestrians can find paths of sheltered access across the concourse. They diversify the spatial qualities and proportions of the central plaza, and act as points of reference within the concourse. Meditative courtyard spaces are created amongst the undercover walkways offering a place for quite reflection.
Our design is also concerned with more phenomenological aspects such as tactility and sight, as characteristics of materials, colour and natural light determine the quality of the life in the campus. At night the new structures transform into glowing lanterns and become landmarks for orientation. Please refer to the panels for a more comprehensive description of our design.
Location: Canberra, Australia
Design Team: Emiliano Roia, Andrea Quagliola and Matteo Monteduro
Collaborators: Luke Ravi, Antony Plumb, Tor Dahl and Marco Tripodi