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Foster + Partners’ Chinese university building opens

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Foster + Partners has completed the China Resources University in Xiao Jing Wan, Shenzen

The 55,000m² university campus forms part of a larger mixed use development which includes a hotel, club house and housing which the practice also designed.

The management training institute caters for 500 students and includes residential accommodation for 300 students and 35 staff.

The scheme also features five teaching buildings and an innovation centre which sit around a central boulevard.

This street ends at the main auditorium building which features a 580-seat auditorium and meeting rooms. The library, additional auditoria, students’ bar, gym and residences step down the side.

The buildings are constructed from fair-faced concrete exposed internally and externally, bronze coloured cladding and a specially developed clay brick.

Measuring more than half a metre long, the brick is made from locally available earth which has a high clay content and is a modern reinterpretation of the conventional building block used in many of the buildings of Shenzen.

The bricks were manufactured in a neighbouring factory, where the machine-made bricks were given a rough texture by hand-pressing coarse stones against them before firing. The bricks were baked at varying temperatures between 1250 and 1290 degrees celsius to obtain slight variations in colour shades, matching the different tones of earth found in the surrounding area. 

Chris Bubb, architect partner at Foster + Partners said: ‘The idea was to create a cascading complex of buildings and spaces - a series of teaching and living spaces, terraces and informal streets that encourage interaction and a sense of wellbeing.

‘The brick is the basic building block from which the building derives its character. We worked very hard to refine its size and proportions, even sourcing the earth from the region to ensure the building is of its place.’


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