Making a new man-made Cliff : The unique condition of Lima with its relationship to the sea, with cliffs defining the boundary between land and sea, fascinates us. The green landscape along the cliff tops turns inland from the sea to the city, forming a type of green valley. The site forms part of this green ‘finger’ which connects the sea with the city at this point. This new UTEC campus project is conceived as a ‘new cliff’, continuing from the sea edge, clearly stating and defining the University on its new ground. The northern boundary of the site contains a busy road network. We see this northern boundary as the main façade of the project, visible from passing traffic and it is the register of the new campus in the public mind. We have positioned the special rooms of the University: the auditorium, the conference rooms, the theatre / movie venue, at the base of the ‘cliff ’ face, marking the northern boundary to the highway, encouraging cultural interaction with the wider public.
Cascading Garden While the north face acts as a ‘cliff’ or ‘shoulder’ to the outer world - the fast-moving city - the south faces cascades as a series of gardens, reflecting a different sense of Time. From ground to the ‘loggia’ at the highest level, landscape is woven onto, into and through the building. While predominately the gardens are to the south, they are ‘pulled through’ and visible from the north ‘cliff’ face. Awareness is heightened of the manmade and the organic. Sunlight is ‘threaded’ through the section. Planting for the campus is selected in relation to moisture levels, with the largest trees in real ground; smaller scale trees above the classrooms and a type of rock desert proposed for the ‘loggia’ level. The southerly winds modify the inner, softer face of the building. ‘Fog catchers’, woven in traditional patterns and colours, capture some moisture for plant life. The south face drops in scale towards the existing residential area to the south.
Intimacy within a social infrastructure The grand landscape of the ‘cliff’ allows large numbers of professors, students and staff to move easily. Structure and consequential architectural spaces work together to form a new circulation landscape. Sunlight animates the sections, while the overhangs provide solar shelter. The circulation strategy celebrates the ethos of the Institution, the collective life of the campus, and well as fostering the research life of the individual student and professor. Interaction and overlap are encouraged. Students, professors and administrative staff mingle, within view of one another. The section encourages chance and possibility.
Spatial and social interaction: Educationally, a vertically layered strategy connects ground and sky. The larger volumes are placed nearest the ground, with the teaching spaces stacked and administration and professors’ offices positioned on the higher levels. The roof level contains the library, embedded in the linear ‘loggia’, enjoying panoramic views over the city and of the sea. The versatility of the structural matrix provides for Phases 1, 2 and 3. As the floor levels rise, the relationship with the sea continues. The whole sequence of movement involves views - framed views beyond the boundaries of the site to the wider horizons. The ‘nose’ or ‘prow’ of the campus faces the sea. A generous ramp connects real ground with new . A centralised, formal stairs and lifts animate the main arrival space The large dining room faces west onto a terrace. The special Laboratories are not hidden away , not buried, but are on display, as it were, exhibition spaces, positioned in the heart of the building, involved in the everyday life of the campus, central to the ethos of education.
Structure: The primary structure is formed by pairs of in-situ concrete fin walls at 9.2m centres which are braced horizontally by cross beams to form diaphragm walls. These diaphragm walls are placed at 27.2m centres and support staircases, water tanks as well as housing the vertical service risers. Because of the nature of the ground these fin walls will not require piling and will be supported by a raft foundation slab. Intermediate smaller columns and beams are located at 13.6m centres in order to minimize the span of the floor slabs , which will be prefabricated planks with a structural screed. The terraced form of the section means that the larger rooms and the weight is concentrated at the lower levels, where the structure is at it’s widest and most substantial. This has a natural efficiency in terms of resisting the seismic forces.
Environmental Design Strategy: The main circulation hall overlooking the motorway and the city beyond benefits from the orientation towards the sun and at the same time , protects the teaching spaces from the busy road’s noise. The terraced teaching spaces adjacent to this public space help prevent discomfort from the southern prevailing winds. The use of vegetation and screens for fog collection will create a microclimate, allowing comfortable meeting and seating areas on the terraces and protected circulation areas. The stepped section provides shading to the public space and teaching spaces in the summer and allows the sunlight to penetrate deep into the building and the garden below in the wintertime. All laboratories, classrooms and teaching spaces will have cross ventilation provided through the 8m wide circulation spaces between rooms, and assisted when necessary by air extract ducts, or simple rotating ceiling fans. Lobbies are formed at entrances to teaching spaces and these can be open in the summer and used when required as buffer spaces in the colder winter periods. The exposed structure’s thermal mass will be used for cooling as well as for delaying heat transfers in the warmer days. A service floor is located at roof of car park level in order to accommodate horizontal distribution to all the vertical risers. Vertical services risers run adjacent to teaching spaces, conference rooms, laboratories, toilets, greywater tanks and stormwater attenuation tanks. As climate of Lima is characterized by both extremes in rainfall intensity, normally extremely dry almost nonexistent rainfall is contrasted by intensive storms and prolonged wet periods during El Nino seasons, stormwater presents a huge environmental challenge as it increases risk of erosion, water streams pollution and flooding. To minimize mains potable water use and address water shortage greywater from hand washing basins and showers will be collected and treated using constructed terraced wetlands between the building blocks. Vertical water treatment is a very compact and efficient in terms of required areas; horizontal water treatment is a more extensive device creating wetland areas and ecosystems , Recycled greywater will be used for on-site irrigation and will be conveyed by gravity. Stormwater attenuation strategy primarily relies on large constructed stormwater attenuation tanks between the building blocks but greywater treatment terraces and storage tanks will provide additional stormwater attenuation capacity during El Niño and wet seasons when there is an abundance or rainwater so irrigation is not required. Modern weather prediction methods will enable for all storage tanks to be emptied before El Niño season to maximize attenuation capacity and hence reduce flooding risk.