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A Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies

Part 1 Project 2014
Dita Jaunteva
Coventry University Coventry UK
Projects task was to design a new building for The Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies for Coventry University which promotes research, learning and deeper understanding on peace and reconciliation.

The requirements for the building was to envision a higher profile presence for the centre and accommodate not only offices for the academic staff, several classrooms/seminar rooms/ workrooms, a library and an auditorium but also a cafeteria and gallery to hold a collection from nearby Herbert art gallery on the theme of Conflict and Resolution.

The project aims to benefit not only the end users but the community as a whole. It takes into account its context by shaping the surrounding spaces and connecting two contrasting areas - busy, paved University square in the front and a poorly used green area in the back.

The projects concept is harmony by contrasts where a path connecting the square and green area on the other end transitions from the squares paved surface to the green area with various trees. A mix of steel and concrete columns represent a forest and a mid-way transition between surrounding nature and the building. The thick, heavy-like outer walls with pre-cast concrete panels emphasize the raw, open inner glass walls which aim to erase borders between the inside of the building and the external path going through.

A unique feature in the building is that the structural columns resemble a forest by having two structural grids – steel columns that support roof and concrete columns that support floors slabs, thus creating a fully structural but disordered column placement on the lower and ground level, whereas the top floor has only the steel columns. Steel columns go through the ground levels floor slab with a glass opening around it that provide a visual contact with the lower level and additional daylight for the gallery.

The building invokes the presence of nature where it uses the surrounding greenery as part of the design, where the internal spaces have a strong visual contact with the outside greenery and where the outside is a part of the internal space.

Dita Jaunteva


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