On the outskirts of Angola’s Capital City, Luanda, sits a uniquely designed campus for the University of Agostinho Neto. The masterplan and now completed first phase of the university were designed by International Architecture firm Perkins+Will.
This new national university is sited on a 5,000-acre green field site southeast of Luanda. Our master plan, developed in 2000 and updated in 2009, is designed to accommodate 40,000 students when all phases are complete. The guiding principle of the plan was to create a sustainable urbanism. Campus development is concentrated on the semi-arid site leaving much of the existing vegetation and river washes untouched.
An elliptical ring road forms the campus boundary with quadrangles pinwheeling from the central plaza. Academic buildings form the core with research and residential buildings to the south and north, respectively. This organization is a response to the university’s desire for the various colleges to be equidistant from the academic core where the library, the tallest building on campus, dominates the central arrival space. Each college includes an auditorium, office clusters, teaching laboratories, and assembly classrooms that are uniquely shaped outdoor sitting classrooms integrated into the building courtyards. Because of the remote location of the campus, more than 18,000 housing units are provided to attract the best and brightest students, faculty, and staff.
Landscaping channels the wind to maximize natural ventilation and cooling. Natural cooling also determined individual building locations and the design of the building envelope. A single undulating roof draws breezes into the shaded courtyards and then through open-air corridors and classroom spaces. Classroom buildings are single-loaded to facilitate ventilation. The cantilevered canopy system provides solar shading and acts as an airfoil to promote cross-ventilation.
Phase I of the new campus forms the University’s central academic core: four classroom buildings for faculties of chemistry, mathematics, physics, and computer sciences; the central library and plaza; a refectory; student union; and conference center. Each college includes seminar rooms and classrooms, office clusters, teaching laboratories, and outdoor assembly classrooms integrated into the courtyards. The central library plaza is a community gathering space as well as an outdoor reading room and features native plantings, reflecting pools, and a sunken garden. The cantilevered canopy system covers elevated walkways that connect buildings within each college. Its innovative airfoil design encourages air movement around the campus structures and provides solar shading. Subsequent phases will complete the development around the central plaza adding administration, student residences, food service, sports fields and facilities, and a research zone.