This project is a result of a competition winning entry to a design competition for a new Business School for the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). The brief called for an approximately 5500m² ‘world class’ and ‘green’ building that would not only enhance the Business School’s reputation but also that of the Second Avenue Campus.
Cognisance was given to the broader strategy and development planning of the Business School described in its vision, mission, values and ‘Change Tomorrow’ strategy. Therefore, the new building at its conception, responds directly and positively to the principles of sustainability, integration, dignity, safety, security and efficiency. We have also endeavoured for this new building to express these values visibly in its use, in its institutional strategies and spatial and built form.
Our starting point for this project was in locating the structure in a way that minimized negative impacts and maximized benefits. To achieve this, the building was positioned not on the open playing fields (that was preferred by many) but rather on the already degraded existing parking area. This decision allowed for a range of ‘master plan’ and long term benefits such as maintaining the positive effects of the sports fields, the moving of large parking areas to the rear of the site, creating a new front aspect to the Campus and starting to align the Campus with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s recently approved Development Framework.
As a typology, the courtyard building seemed a naturally urban and advantageous type, allowing for a building in the round that responded to its four different sides appropriately and also allowed for a private, controlled external space in the middle that is specifically for the new Business School. (Undertaken by The Workplace Architects which is now amalgamated with SVA International (Pty) and GAPP Architects)