written by:
September 21, 2014
Think of these inspiring new additions to schools and universities around the world as teachable monuments.
Turin University curved academic building

Turin University Faculty Building (Foster + Partners: 2013)

Amid the sparkling new facades of these curved structures on the River Dora, the concept of a quad has been radically updated. While the steel-and-glass exterior calls to mind the forward-thinking seriousness of a tech company campus, the spacious green quad, rooftop canopies, and a “philosopher’s walk” make sure the renovation leaves space for old-fashioned contemplation.

Courtesy of 
Foster + Partners
1 / 10
Library for University of Guyana in Cayenne, French Guinea

Library for University of Guyana in Cayenne, French Guinea (rh+ architecture: 2013)

As if working off the metaphor of libraries as places of illumination, this new structure plays with sunlight and shade with a double facade. An outer lattice of timber slats creates horizontal lines of light which then pass through a wall filled with irregular windows, a feature recalling Corbusier’s chapel of Notre Dame du Haut.

Courtesy of 
Jean Michel André
2 / 10
University of Oregon complex for the football team

University of Oregon Hatfield-Dowlin Complex (ZGF Architects: 2013)

Architect Gene Sandoval and the rest of the design team created this futuristic athletic complex to create a structure centered around the players, not the fans. This new home for the Oregon Ducks football team incorporated the firm’s various disciplines to create a space scaled to football-player dimensions (note the larger entryways and hallways). The textured glass facade, detached from the building envelope, reduces glare inside, where players often spend hours studying film.

Courtesy of 
Jeremy Bittermann
3 / 10
Library and Learning Centre at the University of Economics Vienna

Library and Learning Centre at the University of Economics Vienna (Zaha Hadid Architects: 2013)

From the daring cantilevered main library, which leans forward over the Vienna campus, to the striking black and white color contrast of the main structures, Hadid’s newly realized campus design would be as fitting for Starfleet academy as it is for the European school.

Courtesy of 
Roland Halbe
4 / 10
Gammel Hellerup Gymnasium in Gentofte, Denmark

Gammel Hellerup Gymnasium in Gentofte, Denmark (Bjarke Ingels Group: 2013)

While towering new campus additions often get all the attention, this subterranean, space-saving solution from a Danish architectural firm was just as creative. A secondary school looking to expand saw the playground as the only viable space to place a new multi-purpose gym. To preserve vital outdoor space, a multi-purpose meeting space was sunk partway into the ground. The curved roof, meant to recall the curve of a handball, serves as an eye-catching gathering spot.

Courtesy of 
Jens Lindhe
5 / 10
SCAD Museum of Art contemporary building in Savannah

SCAD Museum of Art (Sottile & Sottile: 2014)

Inspired by the masonry ruins of an antebellum freight warehouse, the architectural and design team synthesized the 19th-century structure with their vision for a contemporary museum, creating a sleek hybrid in downtown Savannah. It’s “an academic building that combines a museum of contemporary art with university studios and classrooms, an incredible asset to students of art and design,” according to architect Christian Sottile.

Courtesy of 
Sottile & Sottile
6 / 10
Rendering of a Librii Library in Africa

Librii (David Dewane: 2014)

In a bid to leap-frog past analog ideas of what a learning center should be, the Librii concept, a shipping-container based digital library designed by architect David Dewane and funded on Kickstarter, may serve as an educational franchise for Africa. Currently in development, a test version is being constructed in Washington, D.C.   

Courtesy of 
David Dewane
7 / 10
Overhead shot of Florida Polytechnic University by Santiago Calatrava

Florida Polytechnic Innovation, Science and Technology Building (Santiago Calatrava: 2014)

If you're looking to prove your prowess as a center for scientific exploration, you could do a lot worse than commissioning master architect Santiago Calatrava to create a campus center, a futuristic oval made from gracious white curves. 

Courtesy of 
Aerial Innovations
8 / 10
Geometric brick building at London School of Economics

London School of Economics Saw Swee Hock Student Centre (O’Donnell + Tuomey: 2014)

Bricks rarely look as light as they do on the surface of this edgy new student center in London, a series of geometric planes built out of handmade brick that seem to defy the possibilities of standard masonry.

 

Courtesy of 
Nigel Goodman, Creative Commons
9 / 10
Deakin University Regional Community Health Hub

Deakin University Regional Community Health Hub (designinc: 2013)

An angular expansion of a rural campus in Waurn Ponds, Australia, this new academic space reflects the local environment with its use of native materials. The glass exterior, which recalls the hull of a ship, presents a forward-thinking profile.

Courtesy of 
Sarah Louise
10 / 10
Turin University curved academic building

Turin University Faculty Building (Foster + Partners: 2013)

Amid the sparkling new facades of these curved structures on the River Dora, the concept of a quad has been radically updated. While the steel-and-glass exterior calls to mind the forward-thinking seriousness of a tech company campus, the spacious green quad, rooftop canopies, and a “philosopher’s walk” make sure the renovation leaves space for old-fashioned contemplation.

If there’s one lesson to take from this collection of new buildings at schools and universities around the world, it’s that while students, lessons, and technology constantly change, the power of a well-conceived space doesn't go away. As classes resume this fall, here is a selection of 10 new spaces for learning, from fantastical new libraries to athletic facilities, that would provide architectural bragging rights for any alma mater.

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