Photo by Cristobal Palma
Edificio E, Lecture Building, University of Piura, Piura, Peru
Barclay & Crousse (Lima, Peru)
Completion: March 2016
Construction budget: CAD $12,264,380
Edificio E reflects Peru’s national policy of encouraging low-income rural students to attend wealthy private universities, as well as the university’s program of social inclusion through education. It was created to accommodate an increasing student and faculty population at the University of Piura’s huge campus in the booming city of Piura, nearly 1,000 kilometres north of the capital city of Lima.
The designers aimed to create non-hierarchical spaces for learning and interaction between students regardless of socio-economic background. The building complex incorporates a variety of generous open-air spaces conducive to gathering, resting, and strolling. Thus it creates a learning environment where, side-by-side with classrooms and lecture halls, facilities such as informal reading spaces, cafes, study rooms, and reception hall encourage unstructured encounters and exchanges of ideas among students and between students and teachers.
Creating a comfort zone in the hot Peruvian desert was another principal aim of the project. From the outside, Edificio E appears to be one building. It is, in fact, a group of 11 buildings, two and three levels high, covered by cantilevered roofs and linked by a series of ramps and alleys, courtyards and gardens. The design provides shade and natural cross breezes.
Although the project was designed to respond to the local conditions of an equatorial desert, it proposes a new building type that helps create a strong sense of community and is capable of responding to different uses.
“[T]he network of streets and squares that define the circulation system – a combination of large and small spaces that are open but partially covered and connected by stairs and ramps – provides a combination of shade and cooling breezes that recalls the tropical forest. The tight scale of this common ground and the careful introduction of direct sunlight at different times of the day create moments of light and shade that are poetic.”