For we believe a closely-knitted community with shared values are important in the creation of a successful campus life of meaningful fulfillment. The master plan attempts to allow sufficient flexibility in meeting any future expansion needs. The proposal is an assimilation of concepts covering sustainability, interfacing and integration with nature, reinforcing the college communities and multi-disciplinary cross-overs and innovative creativities.
The academic blocks define the edge of the University campus and filter the hustles and bustles of urban city life, creating a protected green zone of tranquility. The architectural form defines the faculties not by their departmental compartments but by their flexibility, expandability and interchangeability. Hence the “Criss-cross” formation of the faculty buildings was developed to suggest interconnectivity, convenience of circulations, multiple points of contact, array of activities with diverse choices, and most importantly, a formal porosity that provides benefits in sustainable building design as well as an image of openness for the University as seen from the outside.
In order to facilitate informal college activities and promote social interactions, a multi-layer central spine sets across the academic blocks connecting the different departments at multi-levels and providing access to communal amenities such as cafes, bookshops, galleries and open courtyards. Here, students from different colleges meet and interact, infusing a strong sense of belonging to the community.
Our design process involved, from the outset, intensive discussion with the client (Bureau of Public Works of Shenzhen Municipality) and the operator (The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shenzhen). But these were focused on the technical issues i.e. construction, phasing etc or on the formal curriculum and the rigid spaces needed to accommodate them like classrooms, labs, lecture halls etc. What was not discussed in depth, was something beyond the brief, which our practice recognized was the importance of utilizing architecture in creating a creative learning environment. We aim to promote “chance encounter’ where fellow students and teachers can meet and exchange information, by doing do the university can become an incubation for interactions, chance encounters, impromptu events and ultimately free learning.
We were also lucky enough to be given a beautiful site that allowed us to do just that as well as fusing our beliefs into the site. The project embraces the existing natural landscape as a primary planning premise. To take full advantage of its natural richness while maximizing the site’s functionality, the campus is divided into three zones: Natural Terrain, where buildings merge with existing topography; Academic Clusters, which define the urban edge of the campus; and in between the two, Campus Green, a central open space for relaxation and interaction.
By zoning the campus in this way, communities are formed to promote interactions between research, learning, living and working. The design concept emphasizes the in-between spaces of the buildings within the campus to encourage spontaneous interactions and exchanges. Faculty buildings within the Academic Clusters are arranged in a “criss-cross” formation, which creates a convenient circulation paths, multiple points of contacts, and flexibility that lends itself to a diverse array of activities.
In CUSZ, we aim not merely to plan the hardware of the university buildings, but through the master plan as a spatial strategy, investigates the formation of communities and the promotion of their interactions. For we believe a closely-knitted community with shared values are important in the creation of a successful campus life of meaningful fulfillment. The master plan also attempts to allow sufficient flexibility in meeting any future expansion needs. The proposal is an assimilation of concepts covering sustainability, interfacing and integration with nature, reinforcing the college communities and multi-disciplinary cross-overs and innovative creativities.
In additional, traditional is another aspect that we intend to explore in CUSZ as it owes its heritage very much to the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In continuing its education philosophy as epitomized in the university motto of “Broaden Thy Intellect, Uphold Thy Propriety”. The design aims not merely to plan for the hardware of the university buildings, but through this master planning exercise to investigate the architectural strategies to build communities and promote their interactions. It is ultimately the whole project team’s belief that a closely-knitted community with shared values is most essential to the creation of a successful campus life of meaningful fulfillments.
Working in a region with disparate cultural and physical landscapes, where values from diverging times and places converge, Rocco Design Architects Associates is founded in the belief that architecture is the exemplar of culture embracing and reinterpreting the past and the modernity, and the requirements of contemporary living. While always eager to explore and innovate, our works are marked by their sensitivity and sensibility with awareness that architecture, more than an art, is ultimately the art of problem-solving.
Rocco Design currently has about 140 staff with offices in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Our works have been consistently awarded locally and internationally. Notably ones include First Prize for the L’Opéra de la Bastille International Competition in 1983, the Chicago Athenaeum Architectural Awards in 2006, 2011 and 2013, and the ULI Global Award of Excellence in 2014. We were the first Hong Kong architect to have solo exhibition at the Berlin Aedes Forum in 2015.