Vertical Ground

By:  | March - 2 - 2012

Honorable Mention
2012 Skyscraper Competition

George Kontalonis, Jared Ramsdell, Nassim Es-Haghi, Rana Zureikat
Greece, United States, Jordan, United Kingdom

The “Vertical Ground” project reexamines the “norm” for the organization of college campuses. Students today want proximity to the culture, activities and networks available in urban settings, but typical campuses are horizontally oriented and require large swaths of land for development, which are increasingly rare in desirable urban areas. By orienting a college campus vertically instead, colleges can locate in dense areas and perhaps even better facilitate social communication amongst students and faculty.

20,000 students are located on a campus complex that is comprised of several towers that occupy a small city footprint, and are connected at varying heights by sky bridges. By spacing programmatic needs properly throughout the towers, the vertically orientated campuses can give students both space for privacy and opportunities for dynamic interactions with others. The campus tower typology is composed of series of clustered departments and open spaces that are located amongst the college’s three schools: Applied Sciences, Design, and Social Sciences schools.

The designers imagined two test sites for campuses within Manhattan, transforming the typical sprawling land model of a campus to one that is a super block. Lighting conditions and restrictions at ground level and in relation to other nearby buildings present new issues with which vertical campuses need to adapt. Neighborhood restrictions also pose interesting issues: Due to building requirements, a campus in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood would look different than one built in Midtown, for example, as Midtown would allow for construction with taller tower heights. This might give a Chelsea campus difficulties should it ever need to expand, but despite these issues, the designers contend that orienting a campus vertically allows for more programmatic flexibility and opportunities for dynamic interaction than a campus plan that requires an open expanse of land.

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