A Common Room

Restricted Competition for the Mekelweg Park Pavilion at the Technische Universiteit Delft.
With Barbara Materia, Renzo Sgolacchia, Laura Fassio.

University, as unique limited space, does not exist anymore. As labor gradually became the ubiquitous condition of the contemporary city, so the University extended everywhere its apparatuses of knowledge, penetrating every single aspect of daily life, and turning to the most important form of immaterial production, as the Factory was in relation to the material production. In this sense, the educational apparatus arrived to represent the conditions of Capitalism itself, which is forced, in order to exist and develop towards higher forms of production, to reproduce such valuable source of its own reproduction. Therefore, the University is the sustainable system par excellence, organised and deployed, to prepare future producers and new forms of consumption.

We believe that the “big egos” of TU faculty buildings, which constitute the unavoidable background of Mekelpark could not be faced through a series of objects but rather through the linearity and firmness of a unique form. The existing park, with its multiple footpath connections, sloping hills and the winding groups of trees, already offers a rich variety of events that, through a further addition of separate elements, would be ultimately weakened. Therefore, instead of subdividing the total amount of given GFA surface, we propose an unique linear pavilion, a minimum homogeneous infrastructure, which would avoid fragmentariness and dispersion while, at the same time, addressing the urban scale of the Campus and the city itself .

In this sense, our proposal focuses on one single building, which allows maximum flexibility and the possibility to be gradually extended and completed in the future. Hence, we proposed a design of the entirety of its structure, a minimum programmatic outline and a more detailed study of a section of its length, which is of, approximately, 1000 cubic meter, as requested from the competition brief. Running through the entire length of Mekelpark, the earth pavilion acts as a sort threshold, which unavoidably intersect the daily flux of students workers and visitors of Technical Campus. The multiple crossing interactions between the uniform blade of the pavilion and the existing net of footpaths would ultimately create a series of propelling spots in the park, enhancing the different program activities with a direct public exposition.