HYPERLOOP DESERT CAMPUS



So it's 2020.


You manage to finish the University in the middle of the global pandemic and you have 2 months left to find a job. In the peak corona times, yeah. Oh and did I mention that you cannot fly home because the international borders are closed and no flights are operating?


And what do you do? Well, the first step is to take a break after a couple of months of working 9am to 4am (yeah going to sleep with the rising sun wasn't exactly motivating). A week sounds good? Mmm yeah, that'll do. Just enough time to celebrate the 'fake graduation' from the University and catch up on some sleep (that didn't happen either, its summer innit). And then start working again. Well not technically working, searching for some work.


So you do the portfolio, cv and all that fun business and start sending, sending, sending the applications. Numbers go up (talking about applications, of course) and it gets quite boring. You do a few courses, participate in some small competitions along the way but nothing really interesting. Until one day, scrolling through multiple job applications and various competitions you find something. Something that looks like it will take a little bit more time and energy than your typical art/photography competition.





And it has Elon Musk in it! Well not technically judging or sponsoring but he was playing a major part in the development of the Hyperloop technology and in bringing its initial ideas back to the minds of contemporary scientists. Anyway, you can just google it (actually do, because it's a rather amusing topic); the fact remains that somehow Elon Musk's name seems to attract lots of people and interesting projects.



Ok, so we are now done with the intro. It's the middle of July. And we have 2 months until the competition deadline (and visa expiration date lol). Sounds like a long time you may think. And so I thought. But moving houses, searching for jobs and other courses didn't help my not too perfect time management skills. And after finding a new full-time job the notion of this competition kinda left me for a couple of weeks and only came back in September, leaving me 3 weeks until the deadline with initial hand-drawn plans. 'RENDERS! Omg, I have to do the renders as well'. Yeah and note to improve those time management skills.


Long story short the results are here, 3 weeks later, for your and mine entertainment. Cause we all know that Elon is not going to be building our desert campuses, right?




DESIGN CONCEPT


Pushing the limits of the existing, creating a new icon yet at the same time referring back to its location - three key objectives that are implemented in this scheme. The building seamlessly blends with the surrounding context; without being too suggestive it unites the new intervention i.e. ‘technological era’ and the existing world i.e. ‘the origins’. The architecture promotes the freedom of exploration by allowing cross-circulation between various sectors. The public areas and the research centre are physically separated in order to provide the required security and privacy for uninterrupted coexistence of the opposite worlds; yet they are continually united via direct visual links. Circulation plays the key role, allowing separate entrances for public, staff and loading.



THE ROUTE


‘As a general public visitor you will be able to spot the Research Centre from miles away. Its streamlined and monolith form will mesmerize you at first and you might even think that it is a part of the landscape. Approaching the entrance, you will start noticing the building’s ever changing nature, with architecture gently guiding you towards the right direction. You will proceed to the foyer, surprised by its contrasting natural internal appeal, which would not be the last time the architecture will make you stop and rethink your whole experience. This suggestive route, smooth yet quick, will take you upstairs to the grand staircase, which is revolving around the hydraulic lift. ‘Speed’ - you will think. Going up you will notice the main jewel of this centre - the Laboratories. Proceeding through the suspended bridge you will hover over the scientists, making the latest discoveries; without distracting them you can see everything - here you are ‘the silent watcher’. From there you can either go straight up the Museum or extend your experience by wandering on a series of double staircases located along the laboratories. When you are done exploring the scientific side of the Centre, you can shoot up to the top floor - the Restaurant. The contrasting opening views of the desert and a busy Las Vegas in the distance will probably make you want to stay for a sunset.’






WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN


‘Leaving the centre you will find yourself surprised once again, as lit up from the inside at night it almost looks fragile, opening itself to an external spectator; with fabric showing through its ins and outs. Depending on the day you might find that it did not change at all; streamlined building form appearing hard as rock, meaning that serious experiments are taking place in Laboratories, requiring complete privacy.’



MATERIAL AS A DESIGN DRIVER


The outer envelope of the building is a double facade system consisting of glass and tensile fabric. There are two types structural sections. First one is the case where there is an internal glass facade with a projecting external fabric envelope mounted on the structural frame.

This option allows for a natural ventilation, controlled privacy as well as prevents major overheating and glare. The second case is where glass panels are mounted within the building envelope, in locations such as laboratories, where the first option can not be implemented. Tensile fabric facade was chosen for its lightness, flexibility and primarily environmental considerations. By implementing particular external and internal lighting strategies on fabric the building can change its appearance/privacy from day to night.






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