Nursing Building Universidad Nacional de Colombia Campus, Bogota

Leonardo Alvarez Yepes

Bogotoa D.C., Colombia

May 2016


Leonardo Alvarez Yepes


Edwin Alexander Alfonso (Design coordinator)


Universidad Nacional de Colombia


Rodrigo Dávila


To keep the visual tension projected originally by Rother, the Nursing Building was located perpendicularly to the Political Science and Law Faculty, facing the access road and delineating with the surrounding buildings, a big enclosure urban space. It was depressed the auditorium to avoid visual barriers to the urban and natural landscape appreciation. The intension to provide an open ground floor was strengthened by reducing the structural elements and sloping the second-floor slab. That inclination goes reducing the access volume as it moves closer to the access building. In the opposite sense, it opens the visual from inside to the external landscape. Inside the building, once climbing the big staircase, it starts a longitudinal spatial tension highlighted by internal staircases, allowing diverse visual references. In the building top, there are three terraces, which keep an austere architecture, to give to the natural mountains of Bogota the main place in the space. The internal displacement experience is emphasized by the carefully studied illumination, to offer half-light spaces and natural spotlight. In conjunction with the ochre concrete, they shape an atmosphere, which transmit a stable and warm sense suitable to the public and academic building character. The building was projected not only with eco-friendly principles, but also with the aim to strength the conscience of the handcrafted traditional construction techniques. Thus, the architecture keeps the tracks leaved by the rough wood forms where the concrete was pouring, and the traces of the hands which taken part in the construction.


Once adopted the University Campus Master Plan in 2005, the University receive an impulse to renewing its facilities. That is how, 20 years on various attempts, the building construction of the Faculty of Nursing was successfully completed thanks to the initiative of the Bogota Headquarters to upgrade the infrastructure to educative global requirements. The main question to project the building was the complexity caused by the tension between the strong presence of heritage constructions in the original campus urban layout, and the necessity to expand the infrastructure to receive students and to achieve the challenges regarding the educative global standards. In addition to the original urban plan, defined by the architect Leopoldo Rother in 1936, in the surroundings of the Faculty of Nursing they are located the buildings of the Faculties of Political Science and Law, Social Sciences, Medicine and Veterinary. All of them and the campus urban plan already declared Architectural National Heritage. In this context, the Nursing Building additionally to supply the leading-edge areas to generate knowledge was conceived to provide a contemporary environment, allowing the existing urban connections and generating the new interactions necessaries to consolidate the university spirit, while enabling the maximum visual relations with the heritage buildings and landscape. To reach this goal the building was separated from the floor, giving an open ground floor to the urban campus life.


meeting the outlined project expectations. The building separation from the floor was functionally complemented with the underground where they were located autonomous and controlled areas, because they provide external services, as the auditorium and the laboratories. In the interior, the sloped second-floor slab offers a convenient inclination for the classrooms seating areas and to distribute parallel terraces for the student practices. That architectural shape implied technical challenges for the engineering proposal, which solved the overhang geometry and the irregular conformation. For the lecture rooms ventilation, it was used a longitudinal ventilation duct inside of the central wall, to permanently extracts the air out, towards the building top. The same principle was used in the offices area, but in this case, the central hall is on charge of the air extraction by manual control. Regarding the sunlight, the vertical sun protection pieces in both longitudinal facades, reduce the discomfort inside without impede the visual. The façade architectural finishes and the structural elements materials were defined to reduce the maintenance. The underground deck, the corridors and the access plaza, have been covered to reduce the light reflection but keeping water permeability. The green deck, on the auditorium roof, protects the slab of the sunlight impacts and reduces the external sound waves, while collect the rainwater for maintenance. All these aspects insure the fluid building articulation with the university life. One of the most significant outcomes was the increase in three hundred per cent of the applications to the nursing career.