Wasserfall Munting Architects complete UNAM classrooms for University of Namibia
The University of Namibia has in recent years been experiencing an unprecedented and exponential growth in student numbers that requires a concerted and focused investment in teaching and learning infrastructure. This classroom project was one of the first such projects and was conceptualised as an infill development on the site of the old swimming pool, which was earmarked for demolition.
The two 350-seat lecture theatres were positioned inside the original pool in order to capitalise on the excavation and lower the costs associated with the raked floors. The basement pump room was converted to a study centre and a series of public outdoor spaces were created around the buildings that serve as lobby and holding spaces for students between classes.
Expanded mesh screens were installed to create a shaded microclimate around the exterior and outside areas were landscaped with both hard and soft elements to create useable social spaces. The choice of exterior finishes was guided by a desire to reduce the maintenance requirements thereof as far as possible, while at the same time creating a dialogue with the natural materials and colours of the surrounding veld. Cavity walls and a well-insulated envelope serve to meet both the thermal and acoustic insulation requirements.