Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Erasmus University Campus in Rotterdam, Netherlands
December 10th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Jvantspijker Architects
A living heart for a modernist Campus
Erasmus University Rotterdam has opened the new public heart of its Woudestein campus. The project can be seen as a benchmark for the way grim and gloomy ’60s and ’70s institutional areas can be sparked to life. A new semi-sunken garage has been integrated with a new public space design and pond. Together with a new student pavilion, they mark the realization of the first phase of a unique and ambitious revitalization master plan. The master plan was designed by the collaborating Dutch firms Juurlink [+] Geluk and jvantspijker architects.
The transformation primarily addresses the need for a sense of place, orientation, way-finding and identity as well as providing a high quality of public space with a pleasant experience. The Erasmus Plaza is the new central axis of the campus, a boulevard and formal entrance to the University.
The garage frees the site for landscaping while it injects people into the heart of the campus. Rather than being a piece of stupid infrastructure, the garage, is a groundscraper, a connecting machine that in a single strong gesture ties up the landscape, height differences, public flows, public program and events in to a new central heart. Raw and refined materialization provide new and fresh allure to the site.
Student Pavillion by Powerhouse Company and DeZwarteHond
At the crossing of the two main axes of the master plan, at the natural point of gravity of the campus, a Student Pavilion has been realized. This elegant, iconic building, the winning entry of an international competition, consists of a glass box in which a wood-clad sculptural theatre box magically floats. The building magnificently incorporates the height differences of the site and beautifully embraces the public space design concept into its interior.
Durable and future-proof
With this master plan, the campus has become more lively and durable, making the university more attractive for (international) students and staff. Sustainability has been pursued at many levels, ranging from water and energy management, to the provision of hundreds of new trees, use of good materials and provision of tight building guidelines for the buildings to come. The new pond in the center of the campus is important for the required water retention and marks the central place of the campus with a combination of grandness and rest. The public space and landscaping (designed by Juurlink [+] Geluk) has provided the area with an essential total makeover.
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