The new La Salle academic complex, located in Binan City, Laguna, the Philippines, is truly a sight to behold, but its beauty is not the only reason why the structure was recently the proud recipient of the prestigious Global Design & Architecture Award in the education category. The structure has also been designed in an effort to promote efficiency and functionality for students and teachers alike.
Agility in flexible design
“Our design for the new academic complex is a perfect blend of the structured norms of civilised knowledge with the supple agility of nature. We have created a modular floor plate that accommodates the changing curriculum of the future.
“It empowers teachers and administrators to plan for the growing needs of our student body by allowing an infinite number of different classroom configurations within a simple efficient nine-square structural grid supported, in turn, by an organic-shaped building deck with room for gardens, balconies and breakout spaces,” says Carlos Arnaiz, Laura del Pino, Ignacio Revenga and Canqi Mu, all of whom were directly involved in the project.
Organic and flexible layout
The team was most proud of their organic and rational classroom layout, which added to the flexibility factor of the complex, making it easy to move from one classroom to the next and get to various areas throughout the complex with minimal travel time.
The structure boasts three floors. The communal facilities are located on the ground, the classrooms in the middle and the administration at the top, with access to a garden-filled roof terrace with spectacular views of the city and its majestic skyline.
The middle platform is home to a total of three classroom clusters which have the same nine-square structural grid. This makes it easy to share resources, distribute utilities and interchange layouts.
“Two circulation cores are located in the middle of the classroom clusters, thereby keeping travel distances to a minimum and ensuring ease of movement together with rapid emergency egress. The ground floor is lifted on 8m-high pilotis and placed a curvilinear plinth that extends outwards, creating smooth transitions between the surrounding landscape and the building.
“Students will be able to sit on the steps like at an ancient Greek amphitheatre, while the cafeteria, library and auditorium each has a spacious monumental entry overlooking the campus,” added Arnaiz, Del Pino, Revenga and Mu.
The team also placed plenty of emphasis on designing a structure with a solid solar, wind, water and temperature strategy in place. For instance, its dynamic shape reduces solar gain and its bamboo trellis facade accommodates prevailing winds. The gardens have been designed to recycle rainwater, while allowing for proper drainage in order to reduce the risk of flooding.
Finally, the complex also boasts a cost-effective cooling system. It features plenty of rooftop vegetation which is responsible for providing evaporative cooling, along with large, horizontal overhangs all around the structure which offer additional shade at various times of the day.
Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.cazarch.com for the information contained in this article.
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