Heatherwick Studio unveils the colorful school design in Colombia

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Heatherwick Studio has revealed its newest design – a school and makers’ space for Universidad Ean in Colombia. This is the first project of the studio in South America. The project is located on the university’s existing campus in central Bogotá and aims to accommodate the school of sustainable design and workshops. The initial images of the project showcase vibrant, undulating columns inspired by the indigenous craft tradition.

The renders display the colorful and distinctive facade of a seven-story building. The facade boasts crafted columns from the ground to the roof, as well as open terraces. Each story has fully glazed facades with wooden framings. The design was inspired by the Werregue basketry, a unique form of weaving practiced by the Wounaan indigenous community in Colombia. The colorful facade features oval shapes, similar to those found in the basketry, which are typically crafted from natural palm fibers and dyed using vegetable-based pigments. These approaches highlight the iconic local craft traditions on this iconic building.

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“Creativity is intrinsic to the city of Bogotá. You see it everywhere. We want students to feel proud of their campus before they even enter the building, arriving through a public square that offers passers-by a welcoming communal oasis amidst the hard urban surroundings.”

Eliot Postma, group leader and partner at Heatherwick Studio

Colombia is known for its rich biodiversity, which ranks second in the world. Bogotá, the capital city, is also known for its commitment to sustainable development. Universidad EAN has announced plans to celebrate this achievement by integrating the surrounding cloud forest into its building design. The building will feature local plant species on its open terraces, creating a biophilic environment that brings a touch of nature into the city. This initiative is in line with the C40 Urban Nature Declaration, which Bogotá has signed.

The colorful building will provide a new public space in the city. The campus will have a new center along with the existing heritage structures on the site. The design team is taking into account the local climate data and is working on developing innovative facade materials that can withstand the high levels of sunlight at this altitude while ensuring the durability of the building.

Construction for the project is slated to begin in 2025, according to the team.

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