Education is not only about gathering knowledge. It is also about developing awareness for social justice by setting up a base for dialogue between people with different social background, experience and values in life. Durham is a city of education, the site is placed between the three major research universities; Duke University, NC State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where a young, vibrant community exist.
The driving force of the project is to create a model for the new developments in the American cities with an efficient land use by promoting density, with indeterminate space frame, allowing future change take place easily within. The design is a city square with a third dimension. The city building – the urban room is a mix-use building catered for millennials. Through robust programmable public space and ambitious educational & partnership initiatives, the institution becomes an active participant in the region – attracting wider interest for its iconic urban interior. Building also accommodates some program of the Research Triangle Park.
A semi-outdoor urban room is created by folding up the typical building stock of in the city by literally copying the ratios of an already functioning police station on site as the first base unit for the development. In summer, south facing aperture fills the void with natural light and for the darker winter days, the illuminated zone becomes an inviting figure in the cityscape attracting the flow of people from city.
Live-work and the co-working spaces face inwards and the living spaces face outside while the top and bottom serve as shared spaces functioning as lobby, multipurpose space, exhibition hall. Supermarket at the ground floor assures the activation while a library, public pool, gym, retail and f&b attract public on the top as anchors that will become destination for not only the occupants of the building but the Durham citizens as well where they can enjoy 360 degree Durham view.
Using prefabricated construction methodologies and applications to build Urban Room allows the designers to integrate new innovations and technologies to the design in different locations. The essential benefit of using prefabricated design in Durham is to reduce potential ecological impacts on the site. Choosing an offsite construction technique helps creating a seamless transition from designing and manufacturing in controlled environments to the site for a quick assembly. This controlled environments provides an optimum storage for local materials to be stored, used and get recycled.