The project is a multipurpose academic building which commission was the result of a private competition held by the Universidad del Norte de Barranquillain Colombia. This Caribbean city is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Magdalena River. The average temperature is 28ºc and the relative humidity is of 80%; this implies a challenge for the project’s thermal efficiency and control.
The implementation of the building acknowledges and values the series of patios that conform the campus and takes the main pedestrian flows in an access patio that incorporates the existing vegetation and behaves as a public access level with collective activities for leisure and recreation that promotes the interactions of the academic community.
With 11.220 m2, the project has a mixed academic program that consists of an archeology museum, engineering and computer laboratories, graduate and undergraduate school classrooms, 2 auditoriums and offices. Its floors are open and flexible with a service core, technical facilities and vertical circulations. The movement of people and technical network distribution are established as systematic circuits.
The building’s double skin is a solar protection system with prefabricated lattices, supports for growing vegetation and glass panels. At the same time, this serves as a device for climatic comfort; a natural light filter that improves visual ergonomics while allowing to enjoy the landscape and achieving a considerable electricity consumption reduction in air conditioning.
The aesthetic expression of the project is constructed upon climatic considerations on the Caribbean architecture. By means of the constitution of the double skin we propose the conciliation of the artisanal tradition of vernacular architecture with the natural wealth and the increasing industrial activity of the port.
As an educational building, the project enhances the pedagogical labor of architecture by making visible the building’s technical systems for the learning of the students. Achievements are communicated and shown, such as the reduction of potable water in 58% by means of separation and treatment of wastewater, among others, turning the building into an open laboratory.