A new learning resource centre for the University of Cyprus has been envisioned as an ‘earthwork’ with a form that mimics the surrounding undulating terrain and will be covered in coloured cloth.
Having previously completed a mixed-use tower in the city of Nicosia, French architect Jean Nouvel has returned to the Cypriot capital to design a vast university building. Envisioned as an ‘object’, the learning resource centre — which contains a brand-new library — has been conceived as an ‘earthwork’ whose form mimics the region’s undulating terrain. The project was inaugurated in December 2018 and has now been captured in new images by architectural photographer Danica O. Kus.
The project was made possible thanks to a donation of €8 million from Elli St. Ioannou, with the building named in memory of her late husband — Stelios Ioannou. Conceived as a hybrid between the natural and the manmade, Jean Nouvel clad the structure with layers of overlapping coloured fabric in green and blue tones. Meanwhile, on the plateau of the hill, a cupola surrounded by a planted terrace covers the library’s main reading room.
Internally, the design team divided the program between spaces that required ‘normal’ light and those that needed more subdued illumination. This and the orientation of the building led to a distribution of spaces where naturally lit areas are oriented to the north, while the remaining rooms offer fewer and more carefully oriented views. The architects say that their primary concern was the building’s thermal comfort as well as its energy efficiency.
According to the University of Cyprus, the new building will house one million printed volumes, over 30,000 electronic journal titles and 150 databases. Importantly, all information will be accessible throughout the island country’s scientific community. The project will also provide approximately 900 study seats that will be equipped with modern technology.
Via designboom | Images © Danica O. Kus