Bogotá, Colombia 2019



PROGRAM: classrooms, offices, lab space, study rooms, cafe, restaurant, auditorium, and sculpture garden
    SIZE: 95,000 sq. ft.
STATUS: in design

The importance of the National University of Colombia campus began with its enlightened master plan by the architect Leopold Rother in the 1930s. With its green center, classical axiality, and layered concentricity, the campus contains some wonderful examples of architecture.

The new Doctorate’s Building will re-energize the original master plan, shaping campus green space. While buildings of the 1970s clogged the inner green of the original master plan, our new building aims to turn that closure inside out, re-establishing green space definitions. 

The moderate climate of Bogota (cool summers and temperate winters) allows for space turned “inside out” to be at the heart of the new building section. The life of the school, with students moving back and forth on exterior walks, is evident in this central open social space.

The 6400sm two-story building rises in section at the main gathering space. From the building’s 600-seat auditorium a roof begins to warp upwards, shaping a campus gate-like pergola. Here sun-protected social space is aligned to one of the original diagonals of the Rother plan. The campus entry approaches and the central axis are linked in the new building and its green space, opening up new porous routes of movement.

The south arm of the building rises up in a cantilevered restaurant with roof terraces and mountain views. The north arm turns down into the landscape opening to an “upside-down” portion, shaping a grotto water garden. A continuous flow of rain water and greywater are linked in this lower basin; a reflecting pool at the auditorium emits the sound of slowly pouring water.

The water recycle system is driven by solar photovoltaic cells on the roof, which also provide 15% of the electrical power for the new structure. High-performance reinforced concrete joins local woods and Bogota stone in a palette of material resonance and ecological innovation.


  • architect
    • – Steven Holl Architects
    • Steven Holl ( design architect, principal )
    • Chris McVoy ( partner in charge )
    • Alfonso Simelio ( project architect )
    • Garrick Ambrose ( project architect, associate )
    • Dimitra Tsachrelia ( project architect, associate )
    • Zach Cohen, Scott Fredricks, Gemma Gene, Johanna Muszbek, Wenying Sun (project team)