Chu Hai College Campus by OMA



Architects Office for Metropolitan Architecture have won a competition to design a new campus for Chu Hai College of Higher Education in the New Territories, Hong Kong.


The design features two eight-storey slabs with "aerated structural facades".


OMA are working in collaboration with Leigh & Orange Architects.


See all our stories about OMA/Rem Koolhaas in our special category.

Here's some text from OMA:




Hong Kong, 15 January 2010 – The Office for Metropolitan Architecture in collaboration with Leigh & Orange Architects has won the competition for the new campus for Chu Hai College of Higher Education in the New Territories in Hong Kong. The campus will give Chu Hai College, established in 1947, a new identity as well as a new site. The project, with a gross floor area of 28,000m2, consists of education facilities for three faculties – arts, science and engineering, and business – containing 10 departments and two research centres.

Chu Hai College has traditionally emphasised a multidisciplinary and wide-ranging education for its 4,000 students engaged in the four-year degree curriculum. Accordingly, OMA’s design generates abundant communal spaces that will facilitate encounters between students from different departments.

OMA conceived a building that consists of two parallel horizontal slabs connected by a ‘mat’ of social and educational facilities. The slabs, each eight stories high, contain flexible space for classrooms, studios, and offices. Their aerated structural facades provide a visual unity for the campus, and allow views into the inner workings of the buildings and out over Castle Peak Bay and its verdant surrounding hills. The slabs are oriented to maximise natural ventilation, reducing air conditioning demands by 15–30 per cent and contributing to an efficient, sustainable design.

Connecting the two slabs, the mat contains the library, cafeteria, gym, and lecture theatres. On top of this mat OMA has designed a shaded area of steps, platforms, and ramps that acts as a circulation system between the various facilities. Crucially, this ramp coincides with the slope of the existing hill on the site, grounding the new campus firmly within the landscape.

OMA’s concentrated design for the campus allows several of the original British army buildings on the site to be preserved. These buildings will be used for accommodation, student union and canteen facilities.

The design, led by OMA partner Rem Koolhaas, General Manager of OMA Asia (Hong Kong) David Gianotten, and associate Chris van Duijn, was chosen from eight submissions by internationally renowned architecture offices. The Chu Hai College selection committee chose OMA’s design because it provides a strong visual identity for the college, flexibility in use and an environment conducive for multidisciplinary education. They called the design ‘the bookstand’.

David Gianotten commented: “OMA’s design for the new campus features both pure geometric forms with the two slabs, and subtlety and intricacy with the mat that connects them. We aimed to create a sustainable, integrated, and open platform for the future of Chu Hai College.”

The project will be executed by OMA Asia (Hong Kong), which opened in the summer of 2009. The office is currently also working on a conceptual plan for the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, design development of the Taipei Performing Arts Centre in Taiwan, construction of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, and the interior design of the Edouard Malingue Gallery in Hong Kong.

Posted on Friday January 15th 2010 at 10:32 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • tanya telford – T

    looks like quite an interesting development project, alot of good hiking landscape and space in the New Territories. I don’t like so much the exterior aesthetic (bit harsh for me) but like the central steps and general build concept sounds quite good. I wonder if they will manage to include any other environmentally friendly aspects to it apart from reducing air conditioning usage. May be energy efficiency things?

  • wakkio

    great, I really like the sandwiched plaza

  • José Maurício Sanchez

    Dear Editor:
    I´m a brazilian architect and urbanist and work on a public office for architectonic projects (schoolls, penitenciary, gymnasiums, hospitals…) and don’t view accessibility spaces on a extenal spaces (ramps, elevatory plataform or others).
    Brazil it’s a poor country ( in generally, not in a international monetary position) relative to government actions for public, but the professionals are motivate to include diferent people…

    Thank’s a lot…

  • tanya telford – T

    Jose’s comment has made me think about people with disabilities and access and use of this building. Nothing about them is included in the information here. Maybe im being naive, but i was assuming that design features to help enable the facilities open for them will have been included in the design, its just there not mentioned in this article,

  • I Can Has Cheeseburger

    This is so 60’s looking!

  • M Spencer

    I am genuinely trying my very hardest to give OMA the benefit of the doubt lately but projects like this continue to challenge me on that front.

    The idea of the shallow-pitch, criss-crossing central stairs is nice, but why so many? For a commons area, there’s a humorously conspicuous lack of flat, open spaces. Maybe it’s suited to enjoying your lunch on a step but for staging a small outdoor lecture? Fuhgeddaboutit.

    And is the ornamental facade fad going to be over any time soon? The way the wording specifies “aerated structural facades” implies to me that OMA positioned itself preemptively on the defensive, knowing full well their facade would be criticized. Tragic luck it will be for the faculty whose window doesn’t line up with one of the circle cutouts.

    I do appreciate the apparent considerations of topography and preservation, however.

  • Hey I am an Indian Artist into Interiors. I loved the architecture of the buliding. Visit me for some Indian touch

  • d.cloux

    It rains on average some 140 days a year in Hong Kong though when you consider that the relative humidity is generally in the high seventies to mid eighties, there is still a fair chance that (factoring in high temperatures) days without rain will still leave streets and exposed infrastructure wet. I suppose I only bring this up since one of the central (and certainly one of the most eye-catching) themes to this proposal is this central stairway, which the image tells us will host groups of students sitting, chatting and having lunch. Without trying to sound too cynical, how often will this actually happen, and so how sensical is it to devote so much space to something so improbable?

  • Mr Hyde

    This is without a doubt one of the least inspiring OMA projects. Facades look as if they’ve been conceived instantly, thoughtless…. Mesh facade, with stairs? I thought this firm was known for it’s ground breaking design. Somebody clearly is not paying attention in the design process or can’t seem to inspire his design team..

    Secondly… I think there are people involved in OMA and MVRDV at the same time. Their latest project had the ‘world’ projected on the facade as well.. ALSO… look at their pixelbuildings.. All this has been presented almost simultaneously… coincidence? I don’t think so.. Interns and designers from both offices know each other very well…so what happened to originality?

  • gaque

    stair fetish?

  • I like the central courtyard as it reflects the needs of students who need a place to meet but I wonder if the external facade will still be appreciated 15 years from now. Do educational institutions have the budget for architectural change when the building will look so dated in the future?

  • sam hui

    the image is really basic but I am glad OMA build things in HK as HK is so modern but lacking of good architecture…wish the building will look better then those images

  • bob

    the central space is awesome

  • richard goldie

    Having lived in Hong Kong for a few years I am deeply concerned about the climatic response suggested in the scsheme. It’s often really hot and really wet. The central (and visually seductive) plaza has no rain or sun protection which is just plain unrealistic. Disappinting OMA, I expected better critical thinking

  • Rita M.

    the first pic/view reminds me of the famous view of Salk Institute designed by Louis Kahn…