A master plan for a new university is a bold move meant to transform the future and fate of young people in the Bié province of Angola, Africa. The plan, including design of the first academic building for Angola Central Highlands University, was the result of an international design competition sponsored by the non-profit humanitarian relief agency SHAREcircle and won by Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company of Norfolk, VA, USA.
Devastated by 30 years of civil war, Angola has rebuilt primary, secondary, and tertiary schools in its seven-year armistice, but the demand for higher education is unprecedented. The government and people are eager to train leaders to position Angola for a sustainable future and to train a global workforce for current and future international companies with operations there. This university project will increase the availability and accessibility of higher education for the Bié people for ‘regeneration, rebirth and renewal'.
University stakeholders earnestly seek to marry what is best in Angolan culture, its ancient educational system, and modern architectural design. As a result, the design team invested deeply in understanding the challenges facing the country, everything from infrastructure to materials, as well as cultural references. For example, the fractal pattern layout of the campus plan is an interpretation of indigenous village planning principles.
As a teaching tool, the campus will promote dialog, collaboration, sustainability, and interdisciplinary behavior. A Wisdom Center at the heart of the campus will serve as community beacon, embodying the University mission and oral traditions of learning. A water course will run through the campus and the Wisdom Center physically connecting the campus to its larger site and symbolically transcending the past, present and future. The concept represents opportunities for the campus to become a beacon of light for the future of the Angolan people.