A visual re-reading
Keywords:Modernist university campuses, cross-cultural influences, campus utopias, creative analysis
“Campus Utopias: A Visual Re-reading” describes a multidisciplinary graduate course conducted collaboratively by TU Delft and METU Ankara’s Architecture Departments in 2022. The research course focused on the key urban and architectural features of selected campus projects, examining how the modernist architects engaged in these designs were able to use them as a basis for the experimentation of new educational-residential models for living.
This research paper explores the formal aspects of these campuses and their architectural significance. It recognizes the diverse geographies where the modern architectural movement took root and the active role played by political, economic, and cultural agents in shaping these projects. Working with local agents and situating modern architecture within its surrounding infrastructure and landscape helped master architects to integrate local architectural values and new building technologies.
The article presents three case studies: Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, the University of Baghdad in Iraq, and the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas. These campuses were designed and built after World War II, representing the aspirations of newly installed governments. The article highlights the architectural approaches that incorporated environmental considerations and cultural inspirations and the socio-economic considerations in each project.
The research methodology involves a comparative analysis of the campuses, focusing on their formal qualities and in-between spaces. The students involved in the graduate research course utilized various media and techniques of representation, including 3D digital drawings, models, collages, and physical reliefs. The work results were presented in the form of an exhibition titled “Campus Utopias” at TU Delft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment in April 2022. The student projects in this photo essay show the diversity of scale and make visible the similarities and differences in the overall campus design approaches of the three projects. The major focus is on the in-between spaces and the outcomes of the multidisciplinary work of architects, engineers, landscape architects, and artists.