University of Cyprus Medical School, Nicosia, Cyprus
The University of Cyprus, through the Campus Development Office, promoted and completed an International Architectural Competition of one stage, which aimed in the selection and appointment of qualified Architects and Consultants for the design and supervision of the Building Facilities of the Medical School and Health Sciences Building project at UCY Athalassa Campus.
The project focuses on the design of a building which could house and activate spatially and conceptually:
- Continuity of the Landscape, which is not simply the background, but acquires a vital and active relationship within the building, infiltrating it and conversely, becoming a component of its design.
- Public space expanding the flows of public environment, and highlighting the meaning of public education, especially in Medical studies.
- A Contemporary Educational Environment, which does not reproduce institutionalization and restrictive schemes, but – beyond its functional performance – is perceived as a place of enhanced creativity, socialization and distribution of knowledge and ideas.
By creating a vital crack, a “positive gap”, a ravine of natural and social flow was opened up, which revealed the natural topography, highlighted optical views towards mount Athos and perceptiveness of the surrounding landscape and allowed the permeation of nature into the building.
This gap was a free passage, performing as a branch of the central Pedestrian – Belvedere and interconnection of public spaces (Square of Communal Functions, Biology Faculty Patio), while creating the conditions of transition to the future expansion of the School to the south. The division of the building volume allows for a clear distinction of the two major functional unities, Undergraduate – Teaching and Postgraduate – Research, on the basis of their contrasting characteristics (mobility and group function for the first – graded accessibility and sanitary safety for the second). The office spaces of Deanery – Academic personnel are placed at the higher levels of the Teaching unity, where the volume is reduced, providing views to the inner and surrounding environment.
The interior of the “vessel” that was created produced the intermediate space, concentrating the communal functions – indoor and outdoor – which becomes the central space of articulation and transpiration of the building.
Separating the building mass into two elongated volumes, reduces the built footprint
and performs beneficially on the bioclimatic behavior
of the building (ground transpiration – absorbability, plantings – microclimate, natural lighting – cooling). While the twisting
of the wings manages the shadowing, negating the stifling vicinity with neighboring buildings, forms an open input area of the School and simultaneously enhances energy planning (exploitation of orientations and cool NW summer winds). Secondary external skins
(from louvers and grids) escalate transparency and protection to more vulnerable elevations. The bioclimatic shelter
protects and shadows while establishing an extensive energy “roof” surface, with the integration of photovoltaic panels system in the unseen sides of metal beams of the shelter.
The connective principles, underlying the entire design, is the redefinition of those elements of Mediterranean architectural expression, where the immediacy of needs is inextricably linked to an anthropocentric view, intertwined with the culture of outdoor life, social osmosis and vital relationship with nature and landscape; elements moreover experiential in the historical depth of the locus, that remain live and obvious in the collective memory and the contemporary living of people.