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Main authors: Laurent BECKER – architecte

Coauthors: Justin BARONCEA, Cristina GINARA, Weirong LI, Nicolas TRIBOI

Architecture collaborators: Codruta POP, Arina BOARIU, Mihai Barbu, Alex Voicu, Ioana Nanis, Radu Enescu

Specialty collaborators: Razvan IONICA, Matei DERSIDAN, Ruxandra CIACOI

Joint venture:

  • NEWBRIDGE INFRASTRUCTURI, SRL, arhitectura, arhitectura peisagistica, inginerie

We believe that any public funded architecture today has the responsibility to respect and when needed, to restore the natural balance of the territory in which it is being introduced. It should inspire, raise curiosity and ultimately support knowledge.

This project in its essence should enable citizens to explore and understand our knowledge about life systems and related phenomena, and to promote participation in the preservation of life systems in all forms.

The site has 3 strong and intrinsic qualities which are the natural topography, the ecological corridor and the predominant nature and vegetation, 3 qualities which have naturally guided our reflection and our work and which have enabled us to define all the principles directors and constituents of our project.

Thus, in order to prepare the site to the reception of buildings and programs, we started from the topography, we took advantage of the slope, which we structured and landscaped with topographic plates to make the land habitable, stabilize it, while reintegrating the paths of the ecological corridor and natural flows.

The 3 founding principles of our project are therefore:

1) Make use of the topography and the natural slope to structure the terrain

  • Topographic structuring of the site remodeled into terraces

The Terraces become structural elements,retaining the soil and controlling the movements in these unstable Transylvanian soils. They become structural elements with architectural function: landscape elements, inhabited walls, or just simple retaining walls.

  • Organization of a programmatic geography

The topography plates generated by the terraces become programmatic plates which structure the terrain and organize the functioning of the site.

  • Establishment of a dialogue between the campus immersed in nature and the historic city center

The topography and the direction of the slope make it possible to naturally orient our project towards the city of Cluj-Napoca and thus open the dialogue between the historic city center and this natural site on the outskirts which will be dedicated to research, innovation, knowledge and training.

The landscape of the surrounding hills extends onto the site, creating a natural and landscaped continuity structured and made habitable by these topographic plates.

2) Erasing the boundaries between interior and exterior and implementing an architecture that is open and connected to the landscape

Nature inside and outside: The nature and the landscape of the hills extend on the site and to the interior of the buildings.

The administrative boundary of the parcel does not have to be represented in this natural site. Nature knows no urban planning rules, it does not stop in front of the campus fence. On the contrary, it lives by its own rules and these are visible throughout the site, both outside and inside the buildings.

The built and administrative boundaries are erased and give way to the reinstallation of natural rules which thus become opportunities for learning.

The built environment takes advantage of the altimetric differencebetween the topographic plates and extends in their thickness, limiting the footprint visible on the ground, and thus maximizing the place of the natural soil and the vegetal in the project.

The result is a hyper-functional complex, connected by links between all the buildings and a peripheral service road, which ultimately organizes the two sets of programs, the CLAS and the UBB, around the large central square and valley which is a common element, the common denominator of the program.

3) A domestic architecture, clear, readable, educational

The architecture is domestic, low. The buildings are installed in the slope and do not interfere with each other. The buildings offer a variety of situations, associated with the variety of programs. The siting of the buildings maximizes visual contact with the surrounding landscape. The facades are largely glazed and offer each of the programs a generous visual opening to the outside. Each building has strong visual contacts with the central valley, with the view towards Cluj-Napoca and its valley, and with the natural landscape. In the thickness of the slabs, patios allow the vegetation to enter the buildings and reinforce this feeling of strong integration into nature.

The natural environment and the architectural arrangements are a generator of diversity and collaborative work

The natural world / school exchange extends in a hierarchical way towards the interior, towards the teachings, towards the interior gardens, towards the shared spaces to install this porosity in the center of the device. In physics this value characterizes the interstices, the voids. In the school space, it could designate attention to shared places, those of routes and encounters, those of spaces open to all audiences, those of rooms that can be reappropriated, reassigned according to needs and evolution of the users.

It is through the gardens, open and appropriated, that the climate conducive to collaborative work, chance encounters, spontaneous experimentation is established, in part.

The dynamics of the school are based on diversity, pooling, sharing and meeting. We want to install this place of sharing, this mix of uses at the heart of the project, at the service of pedagogy, research and student life without exception, from a structure that plays in favor of exchanges.