Environmental Design - Part II

Plan of basement level

The function of the central core as an interconnecting hub containing the meeting places, teaching rooms and laboratories is of primary importance in the organisation of the building. However the presence of such large scale spaces could act against the expression of individual pavilions and would unacceptably increase the overall height of the Centre. Our solution to this is dealt with in two ways:

Firstly, most of the central accommodation is placed in a lower ground level shown above. By gently reducing the external ground floor between the pavilions, the perimeter rooms can be daylit and naturally ventilated for most of the year. The main route to the basement is found in the ground floor entrance hall giving easy access to the lecture rooms and seminar rooms beneath the adjacent pavilions. The pavilion stairs also reach the basement increasing the centre's connections.

To the left of the lecture rooms sits the laboratory space directly accessible from the pavilions above and served from the service yard lift. To the left of the laboratory, under the double pavilion on the western side, sits the graduate studies centre and computer teaching rooms.

North-south section showing two pavilions

The second solution to the issue of scale is provided by the roof of the central core which is formed into a barrel vault. This reduces the height of the perimeter to a single storey. Over the top of the roof, a series of planting troughs is placed, containing ground cover planting. At the apex of the vault, a larger structural tray is placed providing the base for a grass roof accessible from all the pavilions.

This form and treatment will reduce the visual impact of the central core by increasing the presence of green foliage and softening the edges of the building.

Since the roof is accessible, this solution will add to the ease with which academics can communicate. As with a traditional university court, the grass roof will function as a meeting place, providing the opportunity for chance encounters and scholastic debate amongst the delights of nature.