Client: UPCT – ETSAE
Status: Design – Competition entry
Location: Cartagena, ESP
With: Alessandro De Simone
The project faces the numerous issues lifted by the brief, such as the relation with the city, with the current buildings of the faculty and with the memory that an university evokes and testifies. The intervention is based on a strategy that aims to extend the ETSAE faculty complex by keeping nearly the same footprint of the current buildings in order to maintain the greenery in front of the antigua nave that constitutes the sole decompression space of the whole campus.
Firstly, the attic and portion of the main building occupying the central courtyard are demolished together with the interiors of the antigua nave, whose facades, representing the memory of the complex, must be kept and restored while being integrated with the new structure.
The current ETSAE main building is extended through the construction of a new two-storey attic, vertically connected though a new infrastructural core. The courtyard of the building is then covered with a glazed roofing and converted into an agorà: a huge interior space naturally lighted , a flexible and adaptable plaza capable of hosting conferences and a wide range of activities. The new access of the ETSAE building is kept in the original position in order to canalize the flows into the agorà.
At the same time, a new four-storey core is inserted within the perimetral walls of the antigua nave. The plan of the building is articulated around several courtyards that allow for the optimal layouting of the wide width of the footprint.
The previous components are completed by a connective element that links the two distributive systems merging two buildings into one: de dos, uno.
These spatial operation are thought together with an accurate programmatic scheme: the general services are placed at the ground floor together with the wider laboratories. The first floor hosts classroms, workshop rooms, and part of the investigation groups’ rooms. The superior floor hosts the Math and Physics department while the offices and the management offices of the Architecture department are placed in the attic. The huge model workshop and several technical rooms are located in the basement.
The extension is highlighted and differentiated from the existing buildings by the materials used: a double skin of alu-lamellas screening the glazed façade underneath.