Polonsky Academy of Advanced Studies

This building aims to service the needs of the whole Van Leer scholarly community. Its upper two floors hold the postdoctoral fellows’ offices and seminar rooms, the two bottom levels - dug into the cliff - feature facilities for general campus use, and both sections contain multiple informal meeting spaces. Its facade facing the new central campus square is glazed; that facing the city is more opaque, offering a stone wall with prefabricated concrete units clad in Hebron limestone. The building also reinterprets the campus’s late-1960s’ historic buildings, incorporating their courtyard motif into its structure through a series of smaller internal courts, which assist natural ventilation, framed by stone trellises and recycled wooden louvres, which provide shading. Arguably its pre-eminent ecological feature, however, is its geothermal system of subterranean water pipes: 46 of them, each 135 metres in depth, can effectively countermand the effects of solar heating by introducing cooler, underground temperatures.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture

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Completed 2015
7'314 m²
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