NAARCH / by Karim Nader

Sequential Lego Model


This age of the world wide web has ushered a shift in paradigm from the centralized and hierarchical to the decentralized and collaborative. This shift has displayed a tremendous capacity of framing quantities of information that is not static but in a continuous state of flux. Also it has demonstrated an elasticity to accommodate an ever-growing number of actors or contributors, who actively invest in the continual expansion of the datascape. The architecture school is a prototype lab in itself meant for spawning further prototypes that will shape tomorrow’s built environment and architectural discourse. 

The distinction between campus and neighborhood is completely blurred. There is only a spatial framework accommodating various programmatic sets (academic, residential, cultural, commercial...) which are allowed free reign in dynamic interaction. This inherent logic of eternal reconfiguration resists the classical notion of form, and is intended instead to encourage an open-source educational curriculum whereby the school is able to benefit from the real-world lessons of the community’s socio-economic forces while in-turn simultaneously allowing society to capitalize on experiments conducted within the safe haven of the academic realm. 

This embedding of the school within the fabric of the neighborhood transforms it into an active cross-section of the subject it teaches: a cross-section through programs / typologies / construction techniques...

The site is flanked by a cultural node to the north (The Godsbanen) and the planned neighborhood to the south. The multistory car park has been placed by the tracks to act as a sound barrier and reclaim the central area as quality space. A development band edges the site to the west along the Carl Blochs Gadeand is allocated for further construction (22000-26000m2) by the municipality. This band neatly frames the campus and constitutes the physical interface between private and academic sectors.

The three existing warehouses are preserved not only for their historical value or their potential to accommodate various programs but alsoas part of the school’s thematic repertoire of typologies and construction details. They will house mainly the civic kitchen, a library and workshops/ labs.

A 20x10m grid is applied over the site. This 200m2 module is derived from the approximate area of a 20-35 person working studio. Modularity in addition to flexibility also solves the school’s eventual expansion plans (4000m2) by enabling easy future plug-ins within the scheme. The spatial matrix also creates interesting and unpredictable intersections with the edges, the parking and development band but also with the existing warehouses thus creating architectural case studies experienced daily by the students. Along this framework a studio can be placed anywhere depending on interest or subject of research and this raises questions of how: a studio on preservation and adaptive reuse benefits from the warehouses, a studio on residential units can become a nucleus for future prototypes in the development band, a studio innovation or research can blossom in the business incubator... 

An elevated network of circulation spines will interconnect the various studios, to the other academic spaces with corners forming nodes of meeting and exhibition spaces. It is intended that the ground floor remains as permeable as possible to emphasize its role as a social space, an agora but also as green space fusing with the green wedge restoring a share of biodiversity, doubling as a park and natural means for tackling flooding/storm water management.This intertwining of the structured and the organic, the open and closed, the communal and the academic is an invitation to an exchange of ideas and experiences, a cross-pollination between disciplines. 

In summary, the intervention is not to be apprehended as fixed materiality, but rather what is created is a field with spatial properties characterized by openness, connectivity and subject to continuous transformations...

Project Status: Competition Entry.

Designed by Karim Nader and BLANKPAGE Architects.

Landscape Design by Atelier Hamra.

Model Photography by Marwan Harmouche.