lunes, 7 de enero de 2008

Campus de la Universidad de Rutgers en Nueva Jersey, TEN Arquitectos

With a cylindrical glass academic building and a new undulating landscape that will extend the campus right to “the banks of the old Raritan,” the Mexican architect Enrique Norten has won the competition to reimagine the historic Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, N.J. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is to announce its choice today.
The competition called for improving the public spaces and designing a new academic building on College Avenue, a main thoroughfare on the original campus of the university, which began as Queen’s College in 1766. The classroom building was to be sited near the New Brunswick train station. Mr. Norten’s design moves it instead to the Raritan River, so much a part of Rutgers that the university’s alma mater, published in 1874, is “On the Banks of the Old Raritan.”
To extend the campus out to the water, Mr. Norten designed a wavy landscape that is to rise alongside Route 18, the highway that now separates the campus from the Raritan. The space created underneath can be used for dining halls and recreation, Mr. Norten said, “so students get as close as possible to the river.”
Richard L. McCormick, the university’s president, said he selected Mr. Norten largely because of his willingness to implement his design over time. Rutgers cannot afford to build it all at once.
“We knew the campus needed to become more beautiful, more pedestrian-friendly, more in keeping with the 21st century,” Dr. McCormick said. “It was not going to be possible to build the entirety of any proposals in the short run. We wanted a team that would work well with us over the long haul.”
Mr. Norten said his firm, Ten Arquitectos, based in Mexico City, would inject a contemporary aesthetic. “The university wanted a vision for the next 50 years,” he said. “It’s a campus that has a very quaint little piece of existing architecture, but it has grown a little bit disastrously, a little bit without control. It’s really about making definitive and surgical incisions into the existing campus and College Avenue.”
At the center of the New Brunswick campus is the school’s oldest building, Old Queen’s, begun in 1809. With its simple classical outlines, this National Historic Landmark is a notable example of Federalist architecture.
Dr. McCormick said the university was seeking a balance “between respectfulness toward our existing facilities and looking toward the future.”
Mr. Norten was among five finalists in the competition, each one collaborating with landscape architects. The others were Eisenman Architects (with Field Operations); Thom Mayne of Morphosis (with Hargreaves Associates); Beyer Blinder Belle and Ateliers Jean Nouvel (with Oehme, van Sweden & Associates); and Antoine Predock Architect (with Olin Partnership). Mr. Norten’s firm is teaming up with Wallace Roberts & Todd.
Mr. Norten, collaborating with the landscape architect George Hargreaves, has been selected to redesign the New Orleans riverfront in a competition that included Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid and the team Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto. Although Mr. Norten led the competition to design the four-mile crescent along the waterfront, the plan has not won approval from local government officials, although that is expected tomorrow.
Other recent projects by Ten Arquitectos include a Brooklyn Public Library for the Visual and Performing Arts in Fort Greene; a master plan for Long Island City, Queens; a Guggenheim Museum branch in Guadalajara, Mexico; and the National School of Theater in Mexico City.
Mr. Norten said he would work on the Rutgers campus “little by little, building by building, so you never feel that the campus is under construction.”
The university has determined that the project will start with College Avenue, and plans to invest $15 million in new landscaping there. Undetermined is how much the overall project will cost and how long it will take, Dr. McCormick said. Rutgers hopes to raise much of the money from public and possibly private sources, he added.
To make College Avenue more walkable, Mr. Norten has proposed rerouting traffic, leaving only buses to connect campuses throughout New Brunswick and in neighboring Piscataway.
“We can start with a fairly small component, yet make a sizable impact,” Dr. McCormick said. “What we liked about Enrique and his team is that we could begin slowly and yet see some impact early on.”

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