U C T S C H O O L O F
E C O N O M I C S
University Of Cape Town, Middle Campus
Middle Campus rests on a gentle incline falling away from the M3 highway below Upper Campus. Viewed from afar, the Middle Campus provides a ‘green foreground’ to the classic Upper Campus composition of buildings.
Responding to the urban proposal by ComriWilkinson, we elected to distribute the bulk in rectangular footprints parallel to the contours of the site, thus forming linear shafts of solid structure and open space, some defined as internal atria. The architectural model is, in essence, derived from the spatial structure of the original Upper Campus - however in no way does it attempt to mimic the Upper Campus.
The New Student Administration and School of Economics buildings, together with the associated adjacent external works and landscaping, will assist to complete the in essence ‘unresolved and incomplete’ Middle Campus portion of the greater UCT Campus. The proposed new development will support the current perception of an intrinsic 'Sylvan Setting', which will be maintained and re-enforced.
The new buildings, external spaces and landscaping are intended to increase the density of the Middle Campus by utilising and improving ‘wasted open space’ left over after planning in the 1980’s. Therefore, the new buildings are not envisaged as ‘stand alone edifices’, but rather as complimentary infill buildings. The buildings are intended to be ‘space making’, defining edges and the ‘enclosure’ of new external spaces. The proposed buildings and external spaces provide for a variety of space types, from single and private cellular offices, to large group teaching spaces, to communal and public gathering spaces.
The arrangement of these ‘infill buildings’ allows for the positive development of the external spaces – the spaces between the buildings. The focal space will be the New Square between the New Student Administration building and the New School of Economics to the North of the Kramer building. By contrast, a new ‘Garden Court’ will be created at a lower level, adjacent to the Cafeteria located in the School of Economics building. The space between the New Administration building and the existing Kramer building will be an external ‘reception’ to the new group of buildings and spaces. Colonnades, planted trellises, planted pergolas and planting will contribute further to provide a variety of other variously scaled spaces.
The proximity of the new buildings to each other, variety of level changes and integrated landscaping are intended to militate against the currently held perception of a desolate, unbounded and over exposed terrain. The proposed structural system for the buildings consists of a grid which allows for flexibility in planning as well as any further re-configurations of the spaces as may be required in the future. The enclosure of the buildings consists of “wall with punctured openings”, ie: windows, colonnades etc. East and West openings are recessed and shuttered for sun control. The buildings are contemporary, however reflective of the historical context. The base, middle and top (roof-scape) are expressed, as is the use of textures (plaster) and colours.
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