All design endeavors are inspiring spaces, but when it comes to design schools, the spaces need to be more so. A haven for creative students, who should imbibe design values from the space surrounding them. Thus, architecture and design colleges are planned with care, to create an atmosphere than a mere room as future designers of the world are to take a cue from the space they spent their defining years in. The pressure is definitely on when it comes to designing an architecture school, as students with different architectural inclinations are to study there. This is to say, that the university design should impress and integrate within every student – whether they like traditional or contemporary design, modern or futuristic design etc. In order to delve deeper into the topic, I have curated a small list of architecture colleges around the world! Let’s take a look at the spaces which invoke ideas – design schools!

1. School of Architecture – Crescent University | architectureRed

This design school in Chennai features bands of red in the facade with an intelligent play of levels. In an attempt to break the corridor and room design typology of a school, the designers introduced open ended spaces in the college to encourage experimentation with space and in turn, learning. The monotonous classroom and corridor concept leads to a monotonous study routine, which the interactive spaces at Crescent University aims to avoid. An open stilt area at the ground level, provides a gathering space as well as connects the surrounding landscape in the building fabric. This open stilt void is staggered and continued vertically, making the school a two block entity connecting by an open space and thus connecting the school visually through every floor. This social space cuts the building mass and opens up the school for outdoor sun and breeze blurring the lines between outside and inside.

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2. Melbourne School of Design – University of Melbourne | NADAAA + John Wardle Architects

The Melbourne school of Design is the result of the collaborative thought process of NADAAA and JWA firms. Architecture students are notorious for spending days and nights in campus working on their sheets and models for which the Central studio hall is the perfect feature space. This informally designed studio is occupied with students all day and provides an open interactive space for all. Planned in 6 levels, the school boasts of two lecture theaters, a library, exhibition galleries, cafeterias, a 3 level central studio and adjoining work spaces. The geometric sculptural feature, piercing through the center of the building makes for an interesting facade as well as interior element. The feature is cladded with wood and rises dramatically as if binding the 3 levels in a homogeneous entity. The perforated facade as well as the chicken mesh enclosure of the ‘courtyard’ studio further elevates the design.

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3. Arts and Design Department – University of applied sciences, Lucerne | Harry Gugger Studio

Located out of Lucerne in Switzerland, this design institute is built on the site of the former MonoSuisse factory. Incorporating a somewhat similar design dialogue, the building has a industrial design with services left uncovered, bare cement ceilings and raw interiors. A busy box facade, interrupted with vertical and horizontal bands, the interiors are a stark contrast of openness and simplicity. Playing on the surrounding view, the building is opened up on all sides with some levels directly interacting with the outdoors.

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4. School of Architecture, Universidad de los Andes | Bermúdez Arquitectos

An architecture college in Columbia designed by Bermúdez Arquitectos aims to educate students through the built. According to the designers, a building has the power to teach the inhabitants, but the information is hidden to the students. Thus, the technical systems are kept in plain sight. This architecture school is situated in the center of the university and connects the different parts of the campus. The design itself is a derivation of the context of the outdoor spatial quality and the design language of the surrounding buildings. The classrooms are arranged around a central inner courtyard, a space for social interaction and community, imperative for a design school. The terrace of the building is further utilized as an open air amphitheater which allows views to the city’s skyline and creates opportunities for student design exhibitions and events.

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5. School of Architecture and Construction –  University of Chile | Schmidt Restrepo Arquitectos

A rectangular building flanked by green lawns forms the Architecture school of the University of Chile. This interesting modern design is a bold move to encourage social life and campus activities in a student’s life. The red staircase is the first thing to catch the visitor’s eye, an element which was to be an evacuation requirement, becomes in fact the main highlight of the design. This red staircase opens up the university dramatically to the landscape, making it a hub of student activity. The building follows a high standard of energy efficiency and has exposed systems to educate architecture students. 

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Architecture and design colleges require a combination of innovative-ness and openness. In the sense, that the design should be path breaking to inspire students, at the same time be simple and open enough for the students to learn and understand from. Open exposed services, vertical and outdoor visual connectivity, dominant features like a homogeneous vertical structure or a red staircase, imprint out of the box ideas in students’ minds. Some other examples of amazing college designs in India are the Pearl Academy in Jaipur, IIM Bangalore,  IIM Ahmedabad. 


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