Proposed extension to the campus of the University of St Gallen, Switzerland
The existing campus is an excellent and well-preserved example of modernist sixties university architecture. The Concrete pavilions are set on a chunky plinth within a mature park. This is further enhanced by strategically placed quality modernist sculptures. The ensemble uses the topography of the slope and is almost reminiscent of the Acropolis. Historically the main entrance is reached via a path leading from the centre of town through the park and up a set of stairs leading onto the entrance plateau offering views onto the historic town.
More recently this entrance route has been sidelined and most students use a dull side entrance, linking the architecturally less successful extension. In part this is due to the tram stop having been shifted.
The architectural competition offers an opportunity to readdress this weakness.
Our proposal looked at replacing the existing car park with a building that would both accommodate the additional class rooms required as well as double up as a vast new entrance staircase, taking visitors onto the entrance plateau.
The three generous flights of stairs would be made up of oversized prefabricated concrete steps to the side of the actual staircase would offer external seating – an auditorium under the sky.
These steps would be the smallest common denominator and the entire envelope of the building could be made up of such concrete elements stacked up high.