UNIFESP Student Housing -1st place

The new UNIFESP – São José do Campos Campus – Student Housing proposal is conceived through the primordial understanding of the building as an structuring element of the landscape. To house collective spaces, it manipulates the original topography and overlaps it with two bars that follow the terrain limits axis and stagger according to the smooth topographic variation, emphasizing the linearity of permanent preservation green areas. Therefore, the approach foresees a simultaneously architectonic and landscape intervention, composing a qualified space delimited by the two housing pavilions. Thus, the project is defined by the combination of three main elements: a modular and regular system, an articulating void and the topography’s manipulation (1). It also counts with two distinct constructive systems: an industrialized modular system, of tectonic nature, which organizes typical ordered and repetitive spaces, and a heavy construction, stereotomic, done with reinforced concrete, which redesigns the ground and reconstructs the landscape, housing  the untypical spaces (2). The tension and differentiation between ground  and building design is a central issue the project seeks to explore. 


Designing landscape: implantation and territorial articulation

The student housing is conceived by an ambiental system based on 4,80m x 4,80m structural modules, through which the housing and collective circulation nucleus are defined by a set of four modules (9,60m x 9,60m). The system therefore organizes all the private, collective immediate use and collective intermediary use spaces, overlapping the smooth topography with the modular grid. This solution enabled the family apartments to be located at ground level, making use of the free open gardens as true extensions of these units. On one side, each pavilion’s grid ordination is defined by territorial articulation, ensuring opening towards east in all private spaces, despite the subtle angulation between the bars. On the other side, the communal areas redesign the ground, diluting the limits between building and landscape.  Both strategies – ground redesign and building design – seek to amplify the visual opening towards the surrounding landscape, both in housing units (3) and in collective spaces (4). In addition to enlarging the integration between building and natural landscape, this proposal also reinforces the space between bars as a qualified area of great vitality, stimulating the integration and spatial continuity between indoors, gardens, and landscape. A main access at elevated level is developed through a gentle ramp that lowers towards the reception and social areas, where the accesses to each bar can be found. On the other side, at lower level, alongside the social areas and sports court, an alternative access favors the future integration to be materialized at expansion phase, and stimulates the social area’s use as a natural extension of housing units.  


Uses: clear differentiation between public and private

The housing nuclei are organized around vertical circulation nodes where collective intermediate use spaces can also be found throughout each floor. Said nodes are connected to different levels, under green slabs with social spaces, and also outdoors, enabling the enjoyment of those open spaces (5). The ambiental structure of circulations, which originates from social areas hidden underneath the ground redesign and are distributed in each bar from these two focal points, contributes to clearly differentiating the social spaces at the same time it equates to the bar’s staggering. Whenever possible, the limits between circulation and permanence spaces are eliminated or reduced to a minimum, reinforcing the sense of continuity and integration capable of favoring the interaction between residents. A rich variation of paths under sun and shade, under and over landscaped slabs with water mirrors, with level variations, stimulates the appropriation of open areas as true extensions of social spaces. In every case, the full compliance with universal accessibility was highlighted as a fundamental principle, both for collective use spaces and common free areas, and also for private spaces intended to accommodate residents with special needs. 


Housing principles: isonomy, environmental quality, privacy, flexibility

The availability of equally and strictly qualified areas of environmental comfort for all the residents is a fundamental principle which oriented the housing nuclei design. This grants a sense of isonomy to the project, meaning it avoids privileging some units over others. The rigorous dimensioning of units and the opening of all the bedrooms towards east, ensuring cross ventilation in all apartments and also granting privacy to all access circulations, also constituted a cohesive nucleus under a conceptual understanding of said isonomy.  The standardization of elements such as furniture and sanitary nuclei with independent use of sanitary pieces also reinforces this sense. There is also the circulation system’s ambiental diversity, ensuring spatial and environmental variation throughout social areas, avoiding excessively functionalized spaces. The clear differentiation between permanent and infrastructural elements – the concentration of the equipment and building installations – favors the internal rearrangement of units throughout the years. In adapted apartments, this same infrastructural nucleus is redesigned as a completely adapted and equipped bathroom, where the furniture and internal doors are dimensioned to ensure full mobility. Laundry rooms and areas for meal preparation and eating  generously open themselves towards the west, with translucid walls which provide balance between great lighting and ventilation and the required privacy of indoor spaces. The environmental quality of these west facing rooms is assured by the circulation gap and vertical brises soleils that characterize the extensive pavilions, acting together as a buffer capable of reducing insolation and heat transfer into the housing units. 


Construction: industrialization and sustainability

The Student Housing construction was entirely designed based on constructive rationalization and industrialization, seeking to reduce its implementation’s time and cost, as well as the maintenance costs along with the worker’s effort at construction site and during the building’s operation throughout its entire useful life. For such, the following materials, techniques and constructive processes were adopted: – the entire floor is reinforced concrete cast in situ at retaining walls and prestressed slabs, left apparent whenever possible; – modular system’s main structure in light metal profiles with small spans, compatible with the scale of  of indoor spaces, allowing a quick and economic assembly of low impact; – prefabricated lattice slabs at the pavilions for easy assembly and execution, with laser leveling, polishing and continuous finishing with epoxy-based paint, reducing the total weight of the building and the transport of materials, as well as the worker’s effort during the entire assembly process (6); – industrialized hydraulic modules, produced with all building installations and finishes, with dimensions which allow the transport of 3 modules per trailer. For its installation, as well as for the assembly of all metallic structure elements, the use of mini-cranes with 15-meter booms and a lifting capacity of up to 1.5 tons is foreseen, dispensing the use of cranes, whose access to the construction site would be hampered given the topography’s plateaus arrangement (7); – modulated closing plans and frames, integrated to external precast concrete cabinets, whose lifting and assembly can be done simultaneously to the sanitary nuclei installation; – units’ internal divisions done with plasterboard and integrated joinery, allowing internal reorganizations inside each unit as well as integration between different ones (8); – standardized metal stairs, whose assembly would be done with the same equipment; – light industrialized brise soleil, easy to install, with direct fastening to the metallic structure, from floor to floor; – industrialized reservoirs for potable water, hot water – solar heating -, reuse water and fire reserve.