HIGHER EDUCATION IN AFRICA: A SOCIAL ISSUE
Due to the interest given by international investors and the prospects of economic development for the Republic of Congo over the next decades, the Congolese government has decided to build a modern polytechnic University that will include conventional teaching and technical training in order to complement the existing University facilities in Brazzaville.
The government¡¯s initiative, in a private-public partnership with Unicon Development, aims to improve access to higher education and to shape a new generation of professionals that will be able to meet the national market¡¯s expectations which is steadily growing, especially in the fields of building, infrastructure and energy. This investment will allow for a more balanced social structure to be achieved through the education of the youth of the country¡¯s emerging middle class.
The pedagogical program established for this development is being defined in collaboration with a number of international universities in Europe and across the United States in order to provide the richest possible inter-college exchange programs with these entities as well as to ensure the educational quality of the courses available on-campus.
[SITE AND IMPLANTATION]
TO LEARN AND TO TEACH IN A PRIVILEGED NATURAL SETTING
The site chosen for the construction of the University is in Kintele, on the northern edge of Brazzaville along the mighty river Congo. The ground slopes up from the main road and forms an irregular rectangle of 190Ha. The views over the river, the direct accessibility from the main road, and the lack of deforestation required for developing the site were the main arguments taken into account for the site choice.
The different elements of the program are positioned along two perpendicular axes, with each distinct building platform adapting itself to the natural topography.
[ARCHITECTURE AND ENVIRONMENT]
COST + ENERGY: RESPONSIBLE ARCHITECTURE AS A MEANS
A major effort has been undertaken not only to standardize the materials and systems used throughout the campus but also to optimize every detail through the use of IAD¡¯s specific ¡®low-tech¡¯ know-how which has allowed us to decide on realistic goals in terms of construction costs and, above all, project coherency ¨C all without reducing the attractiveness and ambition of the campus architecture.
The buildings that compose the master plan are all based on a simple interlocking geometry that emphasizes entry-points as well as other important programmatic elements. Curtain-walling and closed, air-conditioned spaces and corridors have been willingly avoided and, wherever possible, naturally ventilated yet water-proofed against the intense rains of this equatorial area. Structural elements are modular and repetitive, as in the case of the lintel arches of the Olympic swimming pool that form a regular superstructure that a
bubbled ETFE roof is suspended from. The roofs, be they lightweight, traditional or green, afford a maximum solar protection to the spaces below and allow for very high comfort levels while reducing air-conditioned surfaces by 70%, a large economy not only in terms of construction costs but in running and energy costs for the campus¡¯ entire life-cycle.
AFRICA + SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: AN AMBITIOUS MOVE, A SIMPLE PROCEDURE
To build in the Western Africa of today is to participate in the growth and development of entire societies. Large-scale real estate transactions have a major environmental impact resulting from construction processes, general maintenance and consumption of water and electricity as well as co2 contamination.
The campus project had to be adapted to this African reality by proposing simple, technically accessible and energy-efficient solutions without hindering the contemporary and international architectural image requested by the client. This will to provide high levels of comfort, adjusted to the local site, culture and its inhabitants has allowed us to suggest simple, sometimes basic and ancient solutions in order to create the desired atmosphere.
The intake and renewal of fresh air within each building is essential to the general sustainability concepts used throughout the campus:
- Reduction enclosed areas to a minimum and to complete them with covered yet ventilated typologies in order to cross ventilation flows coming directly from exterior facades.
- Completion, where necessary, of this naturally ventilated circuit with adiabatic cooling panel systems.
- Generation of recurrent patios within the larger built volumes.
- Creation of draft chimneys, especially in the student¡¯s residence, in order to achieve sufficient ventilation and thermal comfort in the rooms.
- Enhancement of the rate of air circulation of larger spaces through the use of low-speed ceiling fans.
- Reduction of thermal loads through the use of green and multi-layer roof systems.
- Use of solar panels for sanitary water heating.
- Collection of rainwater and grey water treatment for use in maintenance and gardening.
- Generation of a controlled and homogeneous irrigation throughout the landscape through the strategic use of earthworks.
|项目建筑师||Stéphane Cottrell, J. Michelangeli, R. Sá|