Javier Martin de la Fuente, one of our highly-skilled architects in the Architect-US Job+J1 Visa Program, has presented their project called Growing Curiosity. Fuente created this project for his academic experience at The University of Technology Sydney. He worked along with Jan-Niklas Klein to create this beautiful work. Now, Fuentes is chasing his American Dream by working at SHoP Architects in New York City since 2018.
Rather than trying to improve the broken education system, their approach was to fundamentally question the structure of education itself. They set three principles as their core concept: Curiosity, Creativity and Interhuman Connection. Further on they defined five spheres of competences as holistic base of our school. Those five competences deeply rely on their interdependence, which is the essence of our spacial proposal. This educational approach suggests a strong support for selfevolvement by giving the students the opportunity to freely draw their own path. This journey is encouraged through an individual goal based system – where the student sets a series of objectives to be reached during the year. Thus breaking the boundaries to a more holistic approach on education.
The unique spatial and historical situation of the existing buildings opens the opportunity to combine the diversity of architectural styles within our school. In this spatial variety we found a major support to our approach. By carefully discussing the historic conditions, they decided to extend this variety in our proposal. The removal of the pitched roofs allowed the creation of an elevated playground at the rooftop level, giving the possibility of a strong public integration in the ground level. The interior of the heritage building is transformed into workshop spaces creating a connection with the community. The existing brutalist structure provides the base for a free configuration of open studio spaces.
Key to their concept is the circulation strategy. The park level is open to the public, while the main entrances are located under the tower and on the roof of the underground gym. Inside the tower is an atrium providing open circulation and collaboration space. Four elements are making the circulation and therefore the spacial discovery more enjoyable. Two fast-travel-cores in the corners of the tower contain elevators and direct firestairs for long distances. Multipurpose stairs in the atrium add up to the collaborational character. A slide system is a fun way of going down quickly, while a backpack lift makes going upstairs easier.
To reflect the inner playfulness of the tower onto the outside facade and to facilitate a modular-like arrangement of the inner tower, a second kind of facade is used in the upper levels. Freely configurable and movable translucent fiberglass panels embody the veil, yet divulging deliberate openings to the inner program.
Images by Javier Martin de la Fuente
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