The campus of Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden) needs a new building for the faculty of architecture. After broad negotiations a site was found right in the center of the campus. It is located next to a busy intersection between Bergstraße and Zellescher Weg, a plaza called Fritz-Förster-Platz. The new building to be designed would reside between the Central Auditorium of TU Dresden to the south with a large public square in front and the faculty of civil engineering to the north, which was partly destroyed in WWII leaving it half-finished with a missing symmetric wing to the south. The site itself is populated with a group of beautiful large oaks. Ironically, these trees grow on a rubble mountain, remains of the missing part of the faculty of civil engineering. Together with the extensive green, these trees and the rubble mountain form an extensive hilly landscape. Thus, the site offers a broad variety of qualities ranging from the crowded public square in front of the central auditorium to the south east to a more quiet dingle in the back.
The design process was divided into two branches: location and content.
First: which qualities does the location bear? What kind of a building does the place need?
In order to properly react to the situation on site, several mockups were built in which the most important parameters were marked (existing trees, necessary free space, connections to surrounding buildings). The space left, was the "design" space to be available for the new building. With this method the basic shape of the body was found. This shape does not touch the ancient trees existing on the site, it connects both of the surrounding buildings (the Central Auditorium and the Faculty of Civil Engineering) and spans two distinct public spaces between its neighbors and the shape itself. One of which being a very open space in direct neighborhood to the large plaza in front of the central auditorium of TU Dresden and another one being more of a private "garden" shared with the faculty of civil engineering. These two places bear very different qualities on which the new building itself had to react.
What lind of building do architecture students, faculties and professors need in order to tap the full potential of their intellectual abilites? How do students want to work? To answer these questions, it is not enough to simply rely on ones personal experiences and opinions. I had to ask the students themselves, how they envision the perfect architecture academy. To do so, a questionnaire was established and spread all over the globe, asking students of different nationalities and insitutions for their personal opinions, but also for their experiences in their own schools and how they perceive their intellectual and spatial environment. A closer look was set on the following topics:
How can a good faculty and campus design trigger collaborations with other faculties and within the single institutes of an architecture school itself.
How to integrate the faculties' work directly with the students' minimizing barriers, maximizing interaction.
How free does a student has to be able to move within this building and how important is the spare time quality of such a place in general?
see the Google Form here
In addition to the questionnaire, the websites of several renowned architecture schools were analysed to extract and compare their ideas of a perfect teaching, their "vision" for a school oif architecture. The knowledge gathered with these strategies formed a sophisticated base to arrange the inner functional components of the faculty. The scematic sections below illustrate how interior and exterior parts, public and private places are intertwined.
The design has to assign specific characters to each of these funcional components: are the workshop spaces accessible to everyone? Are they open or private? Do the faculties' offices open up towards the students' workshop or do they form enclosed cores within the building? And so on...
Furthermore the final design has to form the synthesis between the needs and potential of the location and the inner content.
see the entire .pdf here