Chu Hai College
The Office for Metropolitan Architecture, in collaboration with Leigh & Orange Architects, has won the competition for the new campus for Chu Hai College of Higher Education in the New Territories in Hong Kong.
The project consists of education facilities for three faculties – arts, science and engineering, and business – containing 10 departments and two research centers.
OMA conceived a building that consists of two parallel horizontal slabs connected by a “mat” of social and educational facilities. The slabs, each eight stories high, contain flexible space for classrooms, studios, and offices. Their aerated structural facades provide a visual unity for the campus, and allow views into the inner workings of the buildings and out over Castle Peak Bay and its verdant surrounding hills. The slabs are oriented to maximize natural ventilation, reducing air conditioning demands by 15-30 per cent and contributing to an efficient, sustainable design.
|We aimed to create a sustainable, integrated, and open platform for the future of Chu Hai College.|
|/ David Gianotten|
Connecting the two slabs, the mat contains the library, cafeteria, gym, and lecture theaters. On top of this mat OMA has designed a shaded area of steps, platforms, and ramps that acts as a circulation system between the various educational and social facilities. Crucially, this ramp coincides with the slope of the existing hill on the site, grounding the new campus firmly within the landscape.
Chu Hai College has traditionally emphasised a multidisciplinary and wide-ranging education for its 4,000 students engaged in the four-year degree curriculum. Accordingly, OMA’s design generates abundant communal spaces that will facilitate encounters between students from different departments. The concentrated and efficient design also allows several of the original British army buildings on the site to be preserved.