2012 Annual Design Review
Seeking to centralize higher education and retain talent, the government of Angola funded the construction of a new university campus, designed by Perkins+Will, on a previously undeveloped savanna site outside the capital, Luanda. The architects created a pinwheel master plan, concentrating the recently completed first phase—including a new central library and four classroom buildings—at the center of the site, with room for expansion along the “spokes.” Cooled by natural ventilation, the classroom buildings are linear concrete bars oriented to capture prevailing winds. The library, sunken below grade, is the only building with air conditioning. The campus’s defining feature is an undulating louvered roof canopy that spans the classroom buildings and the courtyards between. Its angles function much like the wings of an airplane, creating pressure differentiation to maximize airflow.
“I think it’s extraordinary in terms of resurrecting some earlier modern motifs and materials, and yet doing it in a way that feels pretty fresh and appropriate for the context.” —G. Martin Moeller Jr.