Studio Class at Auburn University
Studio Class at Auburn University

A New Teaching Hub for the School of Engineering and Architecture

This project was developed by Paola Pulella as a student from University of Pisa and was submited to the WAS awards 2017 under the Facilities category.

Context

The intervention is located in an industrial area, close to the leaning tower of Pisa. It has the aim of giving value to a quite isolated site in which there are two buildings that accommodate departments of the University of Pisa. The two existing buildings establish a weak relation, both among them and with the unbuilt space. Such a space is dispersive, not hierarchical and has become little more than a parking lot to this day.

Project’s aim

The project defines and gives rhythm to the space between the existing buildings through few and essential signs. A diagonal cut, shaping the trapezoidal building and crossing the covered space of the other, directs the user’s gaze to the large open space on the bottom of the lot. The design proposal promotes absolute continuity between indoor spaces and outdoor spaces. This continuity is plastically expressed in a large covered space that is both a meeting point and a space for leisure activities.

The new outdoor configuration separates the pedestrian areas from vehicular paths in order to free the users’ streams. The latter embraces the lot and allows access to the parking areas, now mitigated by greenery. The number of trees is increased in such a way as to create shaded and equipped areas that encourage outdoor activities in warm season.

Materials

The new buildings are composed by a main structure that transfers vertical loads to the foundations and a secondary structure with stiffening function. The double enclosure, consisting of a continuous glazing on the inside and an aluminium-alloy perforated sheet shielding system on the outside, provides a high thermal performance in the building both in summer and in winter. The package obscuration system also provides a dynamic solar radiation control depending on the user’s needs.