- Name: Abdulla Musthaq
- Year: 2016
- Studio: Level V
- University: University of Moratuwa
Project -: Sri Lanka Technological Campus Padukka, Sri Lanka
Project Type: Institutional/Educational
Location: Satellite Station, Padukka, Sri Lanka
Land extent: 36 acres
The client: Sri Lanka Telecom PLC. (SLTL)
“Be a centre of excellence for the development of full student potential for the benefit of Sri Lanka and the rest of the world”
“Provide a liberal environment to pursue higher education and research to enrich and transform individuals and society by imparting knowledge skills and competencies, enabling adoption of progressive changes and innovations to meet global challenges for sustaining an economically productive and socially responsible society”
Primary user: Undergraduates, researchers pursuing higher education in telecommunication and engineering
Secondary user: General public interested in broadening knowledge in telecommunication
In the recent past the graduate unemployment problems is questioning the teaching environments, teaching content and even the authorities who are decision makers in the area. Thus the project identifies the need to design a space that caters to the need for individuals ready to take up the local competitive job market with their creative understanding and forward thinking.
This project was a research program with twin objectives
- Creating a sound learning environment that provides Opportunity, Creative understanding and Platforms for contribution
- Providing a designed space that is a holistic ‘meeting space ‘of technology, nature and social interaction
Architecture is no longer merely a container within which learning happens—buildings themselves can provide several dimensions of support for learning.
Thus the design process was a continuous process of questioning the ideal situations of tertiary education and how technology should be integrated into space. One of the most important aspects of the learning process was that its future is about access, anywhere learning and collaboration. Teaching and learning is going to be social. Rather than create ‘spaces’ for education the future needs ‘platforms’ that enable social integration with individuals and nature.
Questioning the role of a university the design establishes that it should be a sound environment that not just enables the learning process but also enable the shaping of an all-round individual. Accordingly the entire design evolved around integration of nature and enhancing social interaction.
The client; Sri Lanka Telecom PLC. (SLTL)’s brief required the design of teaching facilities for disciplines of Power Engineering, Telecommunication Engineering, Engineering Management, Mechatronics, Computer Engineering and a Research based Campus (PGRU). Innovation is one of the key aspects expected by the campus. Therefore; a deliberate emphasis was placed on the strategic juxtaposition of the teaching facilities, workshops, computer-based laboratories and other support facilities, with the underlying objective of promoting a multi-disciplinary approach to education.
Besides the teaching facilities, the design incorporates spaces for student amenities such as a Food, entertainment, Student Union, Student administration and student support and even selected retail facilities. All these facilities are arranged in a common central space to ensure that the campus is designed to be a ‘student centered learning environment’
Since the building is a representation of the image of SLT as a technological campus, the construction of the building challenges traditional building practices and goes into innovation, finer detailing and quality. The technology applied in general took account of the capabilities of local construction but challenged its capability by going into innovative form making.
The design responds to the physical landscape of the site and to the weather patterns of the area. Thus the more solid functions are sheltered by the earth mounds whilst the flexible spaces are open to the outdoors yet shaded by the tree canopies.
The formation of the building as a central spine with functions transmitting from the core enables the design to integrate services whilst maintaining a harmony with the site. The preservation of tree canopy acts as very effective shading device for pedestrians and buildings alike, daylight was integrated in the interiors through light wells to give subtle and controlled lighting.
Vegetation on the site has been preserved as much as possible. The buildings are located along the slopes in terraced form to minimize soil erosion. Less than 30 per cent of the existing site vegetation is to be removed, in keeping with the established planning goal.
Designing for the future of a nation for a technology that is ever evolving means that that the architecture should aim to be timeless. The design was a realization that connecting with nature and aging gracefully is one of the best methods to respond to this need for a timeless learning space
“Those who look for the laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator”