Blue Nile Campus UniverCity of Bahir Dar wins 3rd price

UNIVERcITY has been awarded third price in the International Competition for the Conceptual Master Plan Design for the Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia. This master plan covers an area of over 500 ha consisting of 7 campuses with a total of 350.000 m2 of facilities, a cultural heritage centre of 20.000 m2 and student and staff accommodations of a total gross floor area of 200.000 m2.

UNIVERcITY is the entry by DASUDA and INLabs design, in collaboration with LIAG.

The principle of our entry is ‘integration of University and City’. The University Campus of the future is the city itself. In the city science, talent and prosperity are all blooming in an urban environment where people interact, share and compete. Businesses all over the world are looking for these environments. Therefore a large University campus is preferably not only a collection of facilities by itself, but becomes an open place, with extravert relations to its surrounding environment and act with that open attitude to the world. The master plan for the Bahir Dar University was designed in correlation with the existing qualities of the site like the outstanding natural beauty of both Tana Lake and the Blue Nile River in the direct proximity, the excellent vegetation conditions on site and direct access to the main infrastructure and potential links with the neighbouring city centre. The integral concept connects river landscape, university, and the city.

The first framework to strive to integration is a series of Axes, based on some main existing roads, along which most developments are centralized and with a new north-south Boulevard as heart line through all campuses. The second framework is a grid pattern of 150 x 150 meter over the entire area. This grid can accommodate University program, general campus and more generic urban development and covers a large area of which a part will have new green programs for agriculture, scientific test fields, ecology, parks and recreation. The grid is flexible and can facilitate any future development and still have a well organized area at all time. It is not treated rigid, existing valuable buildings, public and nmt transport, routes and structures can be incorporated and adjust the grid specifically.

Along the Axes and boulevard the quality of public space is emphasized to cater for urban life. The connection with the Blue Nile river shore is a main aim to strengthen the landscape identity. The UNIVERcITY concept proposes to link all shores and wetlands. In conjunction with the existing green areas a greenbelt around the City centre can be defined, which offers great public qualities at all sides of the City and also clearly defines the University being part of the City centre of Bahir Dar. Special attention have been given to relate buildings to their environment by creating natural ventilation, outdoor teaching spaces under canopies and using water and planting for natural cooling, wetlands for natural water purification and plant valuable indigenous trees and plants. A special place is created to strengthen the identity of the Bahir Dar University with the Cultural Island housing the new Heritage and Cultural Centre right at the spring of the Blue Nile river.