Life Science Building
University of the Western Cape, South Africa
dhk Architects won the commission in April 2006. Following competition stage - a thorough and ongoing engagement with the users was undertaken in order to develop the design and wherever possible assimilated the detailed requirements into generic, flexible and adaptable solutions to ensure short, medium and long term sustainability for the client. Aimed to place UWC on the world map as centre of teaching excellence, the LSD fuses six departments into a single development to promote interdepartmental and trans-disciplinary research. The development is a pivotal and iconic element of the UWC’s urban planning securely integrated into the existing campus framework from all aspects - vehicular access, delivery, parking and pedestrian patterns. The two major components – laboratory and learning centre – are joined by a social nucleus comprised of the lobby and gathering space oversailed by a shading canopy, supported by tree-like columns. The Laboratory, a six story ‘machine’ for learning and research, is stratified into instruction facilities on the lower levels with Research and Development laboratories housed on the upper floors.