The Yungu Campus of Westlake University, situated in Hangzhou's Xihu District, occupies a plot area of 900,000 square meters with a gross floor area of 913,000 square meters. The campus is organized in concentric circles, with the teaching and research areas at the core and a front square, a living area, and a sports area surrounding them. A circular water system is integrated into the design to connect the natural, academic, and living loops organically.
▲ 项目视频 ©李逸
The campus is master planned in a holistic manner and built in two phases. The first phase covers a land area of around 422,666 square meters and a total construction area of 456,000 square meters, including an academic research island, a front square cluster, a living area cluster for students and faculty, and apartments for temporary use by chair professors.
Despite the large scale and complicated functions, the first phase of Westlake University's Yungu Campus was designed and constructed in about four years, including two years amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Architectural Design and Research Institute of Zhejiang University (UAD) mainly managed the entire design process and achieved innovation in various aspects, such as high-standard design, high-quality construction, and high-efficiency operation and maintenance.
The master planning incorporates the existing rich water resources on the site and, through boundary optimization, creates a Water Loop that divides the campus into two functional areas: the central academic research area on the island and the living facility area off the island.
The Water Loop serves as a versatile landscape belt that encompasses public platforms, communication areas, and landscape elements on both sides. It functions as a main axis to connect all functional structures such as the main research and teaching buildings, thereby serving as a dynamic unifying force for the campus. It represents the heart of the master plan, and its presence helps to mitigate the impact of vehicle-induced ground vibrations, which occur on the road surface outside the Loop, on the highly-sensitive laboratory equipment on the academic research island.
In the first phase, the buildings constructed on the academic research island are arranged in an anti-clockwise manner around the auditorium that serves as the central point. Those buildings include the Laboratory Animal Center, the Basic Medical Science Building, the Life Science Building, the Science Building, and the Engineering Building. The second phase will entail the construction of three individual buildings: a scientific research center, a teaching center, and a library center. Once completed, these structures will complete the academic research island.
The design team preserved the natural flowing direction of the water system on the site while readjusting the shoreline to create a complete water loop from the previously irregular water system. They implemented water treatment measures based on a principle that combined the construction of a water circulation system and the restoration of the water ecological system, to increase biodiversity and maintain a high water transparency. The Water Loop also functions as a water detention facility similar to that of a Sponge City, contributing to the improvement of the campus's ecology.
The Academic Loop in the campus's core area is the largest single scientific research complex in domestic universities, which can accommodate 300 principal investigators of various disciplines and 4 public experimental platforms upon completion. During the design process, the design team had multiple face-to-face meetings with every principal investigator to ensure that the project is available for scientific research once completed.
The layout of the four colleges within the Academic Loop considers not only the personalized requirements of each principal investigator, but also possible future changes to the laboratories and the adaptability of the space. Therefore, the design adopts a standard 10.8 x 9.6 meters column grid, and sets the height of the ground floor and the second to fourth floors as 7.2m and 5.2m respectively, so as to accommodate varied laboratories and offices with different requirements for room size and ceiling height. Additionally, modular design is applied for equipment pipeline wells, traffic system, and bathrooms. The roofs are integrated with the architectural form to conceal and install rooftop equipment of varying sizes, thereby forming a holistic fifth facade.
The circular public platform, which has a diameter of approximately 500 meters, contains a quadruple-height space, providing an open area that is seamlessly connected to the four colleges. The authority has granted approval for adopting special firefighting measures in this area, thus allowing for an informal and uninterrupted space for study and communication without the need for fire-resistant shutters, and preserving the integrity of the space.
The campus utilizes a color palette of grey and white, inspired by the local features of Hangzhou in the Jiangnan Region. Different buildings in various areas are decorated with colors that correspond to their functions and locations to distinguish them visually. The architectural volumes and functions are tailored to align with the university's positioning as a small yet unconventional and sophisticated world-class research-oriented institution. The Academic Loop cluster, located at the campus's core area, features the combination of zigzag UHPC claddings, glass and aluminum plates, creating a modern, open and grand image unique to university research buildings.
The auditorium has a colonnade formed by 60 evenly divided drop-shaped enameled steel columns, with each column rotating at the same angle in one direction, thus creating a hall characterized by both modern dynamism and classical rhythm. With a capacity of 1,200 seats, the auditorium is available for a variety of activities.
The building cluster around the front square, including the main campus entrance, the academic
exchange center, the administration center, and the service center for students and faculty, utilizes a polished white granite finish, which matches the UHPC claddings used in the campus's core area. The building cluster at the living area, on the other hand, features grey-white finishes made of inorganic mortar. By using different materials, the cost is effectively managed while also creating a campus image that is both uniform and diverse.
The design team employed Building Information Modeling (BIM) throughout the entire project lifecycle to effectively manage its vast volumes and complex spaces, which has provided essential technical support to ensure the completion of a high-quality project. During the design process, the team established a multidisciplinary collaborative platform to develop a detailed and comprehensive pipeline design and optimize special spatial nodes. In addition, digital rehearsals during the construction phase enhanced construction efficiency while minimizing errors. During the operation and maintenance stage, the BIM information system supports electromechanical equipment maintenance and facilitates spatial management.
Westlake University is a campus that not only thrives from but also blends harmoniously with water. As the first university in Zhejiang Province to be awarded the 3-Star Green Building certification by China's Green Building Evaluation Label program, the project highlights sustainability in every aspect of its architectural design. The comprehensive building exterior system, which serves various functions such as maintenance, shading, and energy conservation, is designed in a way that reduces energy consumption. Moreover, the ventilation and air conditioning systems meet the specific requirements of each laboratory, including indoor temperature, humidity, air cleanliness, and air flow speed, through a precise control system that ensures laboratory safety and improves the laboratory environment. Upon its completion, the campus was certified as a 3-Star Green Building.
The Yungu Campus of Westlake University is an inclusive campus designed to cater to the needs of everyone. Smart road signs and service facilities are incorporated to help students and the faculty easily navigate their way to classrooms and laboratories. The campus features a road system with zero height difference, providing a safe and enjoyable environment for running, walking and driving.
With the support of the China Disabled Persons Federation, the design team has exceeded standard accessibility requirements, making Westlake University the first higher education institution in Zhejiang Province to be recognized as a demonstration project of accessible design, and bringing it on the first list of the top ten accessible design projects in China. The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of China has also recognized the campus as a merit project in the construction of an accessible environment.
In May 2017, the first phase of the Yungu Campus of Westlake University was initiated, and construction commenced in April 2018, culminating in its completion at the end of 2021.To effectively serve the project, the UAD established a strong team of professionals, led by principal architects, chief architects, and chief designers from various professions. The team systematically analyzed multiple technical issues, coordinated with more than 200 team members throughout the entire process, and collaborated with construction parties, the client, and other partners to ensure project completion. Since it was put into use, the first phase of the campus has received significant attention from society, fully highlighting the innovative spirit and uniqueness of this small yet sophisticated, research-oriented private university that aims to pursue high standards since its inception.