A planning theme inspired by traditional local architecture leading to a compact sustainable design driven by issues of sustainability.
In 2008, RMJM‘s Global Education Studio in Princeton became the first U.S. architecture firm to receive a commission in Libya since the United States normalized relations with the North African nation in 2006. The firm has designed two award-winning university campuses in Libya – in Bani Walid and in Zliten.
Designed by the firm’s Global Education studio in Princeton, the 7th of October University will serve more than 3,000 students. Construction of the 50-hectacre campus containing 110,000 square meters is expected to begin in December 2009 and be completed in December 2011.
Located about three hours south of the capital of Tripoli, the new university campus will accommodate 3,250 students from surrounding communities and provide academic programs in language, business, education and medical technology.
In addition to academic facilities, the campus will include a student center, library, mosque, athletic facilities and housing for faculty.
The 7th of October University at Bani Walid
The architectural development of the 7th of October University at Bani Walid follows closely the principles and guidelines established by the Master Plan. The overall organization of the plan retains its original essence of creating distinct geometrical precincts within the wider desert landscape. Within the Academic Precinct, the Faculty Buildings remain rough, textured, earthtone “shards” rising from the desert floor. They are contrasted with the smooth crystalline white forms of the Academic Support Buildings which create portals into the campus and contain the most public and social functions of the University.
All the buildings are oriented towards an intensely landscaped central court-garden that organizes principal access and pedestrian movement through the campus. The spaces immediately adjacent to this zone are given to shared and common uses for the University, effectively creating a campus-wide “hub” along this central core.
Inspiration for the design came from the desert rose, a naturally occurring silica crystal that captured the design and client teams’ imaginations.
The planning theme was also informed by the town of Ghadames, where sunken courtyards cool the town center and irrigate the perimeter oasis. The compact design of the campus is driven by issues of sustainability.
conceptual model conceptual model conceptual model
The new branch campus of the existing 7th of October University will accommodate 3,250 students from surrounding communities and provide academic programs in languages, management, business, education and medical technology. In addition to academic facilities, the campus will include a student center, library, mosque, administrative building, athletic/recreation facilities and future housing for faculty/staff.perspective of the library
In keeping with local design tradition and character the buildings will be low scale; no more than 4 stories. Except for high voltage lines there are no services currently provided for the site – the team is relying on good campus planning precepts to guide design decisions.
courtyard perspective courtyard perspective
Using local and traditional building materials, including: cast in place concrete for structurefacade study
Government of Libya
50-hectare campus in the desert supporting a 200,000 square meter master plan build out and a first phase of 100,000 square meters of academic and athletic/recreation buildings
Team Members and Consultants
Managing Director – Gordon Hood, RIBA, ARIAS,
Managing Principal- Philip Dordai, AIA, LEED® AP,
Joanna Strauss, RA, PP – Project Manager,
Landscape Designer – Simon Richards,
Visualisation – Andrew Maxwell,
Mechanical / Electrical / Plumbing / Fire Protection / Structural Engineer –
Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, PC, Andrew Coats, P.E.
Civil Engineer – Educational Consulting Services Corp. (ECS), Brian Barron
Construction Consultants Davis Langdon, Andrew Smith