ZHA unveils halls of residence for Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Zaha Hadid Architects' new halls of residence are conceptualised as a socially animated circulation model for spontaneous communal interaction and a stronger campus culture.

by STIRworldPublished on : Jan 09, 2021

Zaha Hadid Architects in collaboration with Leigh & Orange has unveiled the design for the new halls of residence for over 1,500 students at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology within its Clear Water Bay Campus. Planned for completion in 2023, the design is guided by the university’s mission to harness technology and innovation to solve today’s critical global issues for a life cycle of 50 years.

Established in 1991, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has over half of the university’s 16,000 students from overseas, therefore creating an urgent requirement for residential facilities. Located at the South East of HKUST campus, the new building sits on a sloping site spanning approximately 25m of level difference from the base to the top, where the roof-line has been strategically conceptualised into a socially animated circulation to further encourage areas of spontaneous communal interaction and a stronger campus culture.Therefore, the roofline development also eliminates the need to circumnavigate the hilly terrain to get to the living quarters on a daily basis.

Master Plan for the New halls of residence designed by Zaha Hadid Architects | New halls of residence designed by Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
Master Plan for the new halls of residence designed by Zaha Hadid Architects Image: Courtesy of Visual Brick

The form of the building has been developed to be a site-optimised configuration through the use of digital tools to allow simultaneous considerations of numerous site parameters along with the internal spaces, which were also digitally encoded to allow layout tests driven by functional optimisations and proximity to daylight.

The accommodation includes Co-live, Co-learn and Co-play spaces of approximately 35,500 sqm., where the residential halls would contain a total of over 1500 bed spaces organised in a hexagonal configuration meandering along the hillside, creating four courtyards terracing over the slope. The massing ensures that all rooms face a green space and effectively has no rear elevation. Following the Hong Kong government’s initiative to use modular construction, the facade and toilet pod components would be off-site assembled units, which will be raised into place on site.

  • Central Spine at the roof-line | New halls of residence designed by Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
    Central Spine at the roof-line Image: Courtesy of Visual Brick
  • Communal Node at the halls of residence | New halls of residence designed by Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
    Communal Node at the halls of residence Image: Courtesy of Visual Brick

Design Approach

The Central Spine: The 200 m roof line developed as a central spine will act as a public domain with multiple social functions accessible to residents, non-residents and staff during the day.The central spine also enables the halls of residence to be designed with a top down hierarchy of public and private spaces.

The Courtyard: The four courtyards at the base of the residences are envisioned to be progressively quieter breakout spaces while also being assigned different functions depending on the location and the landscape.

It consists of a Zen garden with thicker vegetation, to cater to quiet activities such as reading and relaxing while also being a buffer between the new residence and staff quarters. The wellness courtyard would be at the higher levels to allow possibilities for more vibrant activities like farming, exercising and social gathering. A meandering jogging path would connect the courtyards and ease the level differences to promote ventilation and intricate spatial interplays. A multi-purpose hall would provide a column-free double height space for flexible programs such as both arts and sports/well-being. The overall landscape design aims to promote and provide opportunities for active and healthy lifestyles.

The Clusters: The Student Residence consists of three cluster types; Linear, V-Cluster and Y-Cluster with each of these having a different bed capacity and configuration of communal spaces. However, every cluster is self-contained, accessible by lift and stair lobby, allowing direct access to the exits - which would in-turn allow a range of 18-36 students sharing one big apartment, hence promoting social cohesion and ownership of the space.

  • Entrance Plaza at the new halls of residence by Zaha Hadid Architects in collaboration with Leigh & Orange | New halls of residence designed by Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
    Entrance Plaza at the new halls of residence by Zaha Hadid Architects in collaboration with Leigh & Orange Image: Courtesy of Visual Brick
  • Geometries of the central nodal communal spaces | New halls of residence designed by Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
    Geometries of the central nodal communal spaces Image: Courtesy of Visual Brick

Modular Construction: The cluster apartment windows form the majority of the facade surface designed as a series of repeating modules, and the repetitive pre-fabricated modules are formed by a tiled solid facade panel with articulated window openings and external solar shading fins. It thereby creates a unique continuous mural visualising the perception of shade and shadow across the building envelope.

Sustainability: A centralised air-conditioning and hot water system have been incorporated with a combination of solar water heater system and heat recovery pipe-works along with Insulated Glass Unit (IGU) and thermal insulation layers resulting in energy optimisation. Furthermore, smart room control system is promoted to allow the residents to manage their bedroom performance via their smartphone.

Cluster apartment windows on the building facade | New halls of residence designed by Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
Cluster apartment windows on the building facade Image: Courtesy of Visual Brick
Application of design tools: The building form and construction have been generated by a Grasshopper script with consideration of numerous variables from macro-micro scale parameters. The building grid has been generated by an alternative script to enable recalibration to an optimal efficacy and hence facilitate the on-going design development and coordination.

The geometry and setting out of central nodal communal spaces are encoded to a graph with angular similarity and maximal values as input constraints. A script was developed with variable inputs for solar heat gain, tile colour and desired pattern as input, allowing a coloured elevation with designated code names of each module to be exported for ease of installation on site.

The application of BIM extends to study the precast façade modulation and optimisation of the sun-shading fins design, the 50 years Life Cycle Analysis Study for material selection cooling and water heating system, including the cost study of construction, operation, maintenance and replacement, has been executed during the design process to review the overall performance and effectiveness of different system.

Project Details

Name: New Halls of Residence
Location: Hong Kong
Building Area: 35,500 sqm
Year: 2023
Architect: ZHA Architects | Leigh & Orange
Client: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

(Text by Nikitha Sunil, intern at STIRworld.com)

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