21 March 2024

Heatherwick Studio to design a new school for a leading university in Bogotá, Colombia

universidad ean 1 heatherwick studio credit nod cropped 1400x1258 acf cropped universidad ean 1 heatherwick studio credit nod cropped 1400x1258 acf cropped

Heatherwick Studio has unveiled its latest project, a design school and makers’ space for Universidad Ean in Colombia. The studio has been appointed to create a new home for the university’s school of sustainable design, located on the existing campus in central Bogotá.

The seven-storey building sits on Calle 72, one of the city’s main arteries, with the front façade made up of colourful, crafted columns and open terraces. The design pays homage to the local craft traditions including Werregue basketry, a form of weaving unique to Colombia’s Wounaan indigenous community.

Eliot Postma, group leader and partner at Heatherwick Studio, said:

“Creativity is intrinsic to the city of Bogotá. You see it everywhere. We want students to feel proud of their campus before they even enter the building, arriving through a public square that offers passers-by a welcoming communal oasis amidst the hard urban surroundings.”

The building will serve as a new centre for the campus, complementing the existing heritage structures on the site, and providing a rare new public space in the city. The design team is also working on innovative façade materials to deal with the high levels of sunlight at this altitude and ensure the longevity of the building.

Colombia is the world’s second most biodiverse country and Bogotá is considered one of the leading cities for sustainable development. Universidad EAN’s ambition is to celebrate this by bringing the cloud forest, which surrounds the country’s capital, to the building. The studio’s biophilic design will incorporate local plant species on the open terraces and usher in nature to the metropolis as part of the pledges made by the city as a signatory to the C40 Urban Nature Declaration.

This will be the studio’s first project to go to construction in South America, with works expected to start in 2025.