By Neville Mars for Crystal CG

X-Factor - A Global Architecture Institute

or, How to make good architects?

Bouwkunde TU Delft, Project X-factor Competition PDF

A good architecture school makes good architects; a place that produces designers who can adhere to the changing needs of society. No ideology, no method can be pre-imposed. Then what should be on offer instead, and within which framework? What is the X-factor of an architecture school? To find out, we’ve analyzed the organizational structure, environmental factors and community make-up of 16 design institutes. We have mapped the following 12 factors:

Organization: Type of curriculum, degree and its educational character - distinguishing schools that approach the profession more as an art form (design driven), a discipline (technology-driven) or a field (research driven).
Environment: Building typology, urban setting, size, population, language, online presence.
Community: Link with the professional community and industry, relations with other faculties, other design institutes, number of exchange students, profile of teachers and professors.

X-rated :: How does BK_Delft compare?
+ Its large scale allows it to offer a broad array of different courses and facilities.
+ BK_Delft provides an open learning environment and does not adhere to a dominant school of thought.
_ Although BK_Delft is known for its research orientated design, disciplines that train students to do research are few.
_ Students (until recently) worked predominantly at home and not in studios, limiting opportunities to work in teams.
_ The four departments that make up BK operate very autonomously.
+ Its position is very central within the Western European Network and well connected within the conurbation of Holland’s Ring City.
_ At the same time the TU Delft is isolated, has few services, residents or urban program.
_ The TU Delft campus is techno-centric, lacking diversity in supporting studies and courses.
+ _ Although BK_Delft is accessible to many exchange students, and has many program, little effort is made to create strong research labs abroad.

BK_triple X :: Creating a strategic learning environment

The architectural profession is changing. BK_Delft has the type of rare opportunity that only comes with great tragedy. It can conceive how its architectural setting can support its long-term educational goals. Globalization and unpredictably prove dominant forces also in our field. We have defined a number of factors that could better position BK_Delft within the market, principally by producing more diverse, better equipped designers. To achieve this, we have defined X-change as the central goal; knowledge X-change and social X-change. This goal is translated into three spatial concepts:

MALL: Architectural layout and urban setting have a profound impact on the interactions a student has. Inner-city schools and dense, particularly low-rise structures maximize opportunities for X-change. The TU district lacks such urban qualities. However, as outlined in the universities 2010 urban plan, BK_Delft will gain prominence as one of the main entries to the district. We aim to expand on this opportunity by creating a porous structure on top of an underground parking and retail deck. The ground level of BK_Delft becomes a lobby for the TU area with public services and facilities. Atria connect to the underground shopping level and parking. These atriums become a controlled buffer zone and offer ample day-light throughout the building as the bases for a sustainable approach. The mall concept reduces the educational facilities to three levels stimulating predominantly horizontal movement. In plan BK_Delft’s four departments are organized in vertical neighborhoods. During the course of their schooling students get exposed to all aspects the school has to offer, encouraging them to shop around for knowledge, mixing and matching the products they feel are essential for their future.

MOTHER SHIP: In a market that has architects working around the globe, we feel a school the size of BK_Delft should establish international research labs. BK_Delft becomes a mother ship with global satellites. This means at any given point as much as a third of the graduate students may be abroad. The unoccupied spaces become the lab exhibitions moving around the studio floors; small two-way x-change rooms between the school and the world.

MINI-CAMPUS: Today’s architect is required to respond to increasingly complex circumstances. Beyond the spatial dimension, a growing amount of societal issues needs to be understood. We urge BK_Delft to take the lead in offering a broad range of social studies to all students in the TU area. As a first step we have included 1/3 more lecture auditoriums to realize this. The design studios are created in three types; an open curving landscape for under graduates, flexible private studios for thesis students and auditorium style studios for larger teams of graduates to work together, listening to each other presentation from behind their desks. The top floor is all residential, accessible from a private gallery for guest professors and post-graduate students. The building, designed with minimal architectural articulation is a growing system, presented here in its maximum formation for the site.



Competition Neville Mars with Che Fei.

Concept 01:

Teheran Benetton Flagship Store Option 1

Carved out of the mountains of Eurazia is the bedrock of modern civilisation, art and culture. This simple act of refining the crude and natural to become the subtle and sophisticated took place in modern-day Iran and is the inspiration for this project.

Sustainability is our startingpoint to design a healthy and comfortable environment. A back to the roots sustainability that replaces high-end technocratic solutions with local, tried and tested concepts. Thermal mass is the unbeaten as a tool to create comfortable spaces in harsh climates. It slowly absorbs the heat in the day and releases it in the night. The outer skin of this proposal is an almost one meter thick manually casted concrete wall. It lets light seap in through its perforated star-like windows. Effective light-dispersion with a classic Iranian touch. Secondly a angular courtyard reflectes light deep into the building from top to the basement. The shaft doubles as a natural ventilating chimney to cool the building during the night.

Spatially the courtyard connects the program throughout the building. The three programmatic groups of retail / office / residential define the main vertical configuration, while horizontally clusters of three to four shops/offices/rooms per floor define the configuration of the plans. The inner-courtyard facade is coated glass with white light-wood shading panels. In the offices the same panel system bacomes the partitioning, while in the shops the panels extend to become shelves. A parking ramp accessible from the side street curves down to the parking. The spatial connection between ground floor, first floor and basement is reenforced with an additional inner atrium and escalators. Depending on ground conditions thermal cooling can be added.



Concept 02:

Beyond the Curve

Teheran Iran Benetton Option 2 PDF

Domes dominate the urban landscapes of the Mediterranean. The dome or shell was the first fundamental structural element understood at a theoretical level and subsequently used widely in Middle East throughout history and even today. It tension free curvature allows a broad span, and creates a deep space. With skill and imagination domes have been constructed and clustered to form the elaborate roofscapes so familiar to Islamic architecture. In this proposal this basic concept is brought to the twenty first century with a light-weight steel structure that allows the in the individual spheres to seemingly float. The program too is not rigidly compiled floor by floor, but instead remains fluid. This flexibility is generated using the technical qualities the sphere offers. A steel grid structure reinforcing the concrete shells allows for a column free, early completely open floor plan that accommodate the different program without interruption. Where necessary floors can be suspended from the ceiling requiring minimal structural space. Program smoothly and seamlessly flows from space to the next. The ceiling height of the top floors is over-dimensioned to create large coves designed specifically for additional small forums, exhibitions or other public events. They also offer a dramatic architectural experience. Constructed in polished concrete the building become a contemporary eye-catching pearl with strong references to Teheran’s magnificent past. There is a public corridor that runs down to the ground floor and into the basement, which connects the main street Valiasr and the east side of the building. For the pedestrian, this means convenience and it facilitates the building to become a well embedded node within the urban fabric. Parallel to the corridor a number of vistas cut through the whole building in different directions, visually connecting the building to its environment. Like the classical Islamic residential courtyard the center of the building is a courtyard, but this courtyard is not used to seclude and offer privacy from city, but instead creates micro climate for refuge in the metropolis. The façade of the building is covered with wide glass walls. The glass wall is built by stacking recycled prefabricated curved plates of glass. The glass wall itself is scarred with small see through holes, which can regulate the ventilation of the structure. The new landmark of Teheran creates a healthy soothing living and working environment.




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