• University Campus Denis Sassou Nguesso/ IAD

Architects: IAD  
Location: Brazzaville,  Democratic Republic of the Congo
Photographer: IAD

Developer: UNICON Development
Site Area: 190 ha
Capacity: 30,000 students
Buildable area: 176.000 m²
Project: 2012-2013
Completion planned for: 2015-2016

There is a boom in the construction Industry in the Republic of Congo due to the interest given by international investors and the prospects of economic development: the country looks to the future and plans for a full industrialization by 2025. One such Development is a modern polytechnic Universitylocated in Kintele, on the northern edge of Brazzaville along the river Congo, which will include conventional teaching and technical training in order to complement the existing University facilities in Brazzaville. Other facilities will include a 5000 capacity Stadium, an Olympic certified Swimming pool, a 2000 capacity Multisport Hall, and both Student’s and Teacher’s Residence.

Together with Unicon Development, the Congolese government aims to improve access to higher education and shape a new generation of professionals that will be able to meet the market expectations in the fields of building, infrastructure and energy.

FROM THE PROJECT ARCHITECTS

It was essential that the campus project be adapted to this African reality by proposing simple, technically accessible and energy-efficient solutions without hindering the contemporary and international architectural image requested by the client. This will to provide high levels of comfort, adjusted to the local site, culture and its inhabitants has allowed IAD to suggest simple, sometimes basic and ancient solutions in order to create the desired atmosphere.

This prevalent concern for the project’s immediate environment ensured that every decision respected the natural surroundings. A very accessible 190Ha site with no need for deforestation was chosen on the northern edge of Brazzaville, in Kintele, along the mighty river Congo. Moreover, the project took into account that the different elements of the program were to be positioned so that each distinct building platform could adapt itself to the natural topography.

The buildings that compose the master plan are all based on a simple interlocking geometry that emphasizes entry-points as well as other important programmatic elements. Natural ventilation has been achieved without compromising need to water-proof the buildings against the intense rains of this equatorial area. Structural elements are modular and repetitive, as in the case of the lintel arches of the Olympic swimming pool that form a regular superstructure that a bubbled ETFE roof is suspended from. The roofs, be they lightweight, traditional or green, afford a maximum solar protection to the spaces below and allow for very high comfort levels while reducing air-conditioned surfaces by 70%, a large economy not only in terms of construction costs but in running and energy costs for the campus’s entire life-cycle.

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