Fudan University China Economics & Cultural Research Center
The project is comprised of three major components: a research center, a school of economics, and a dormitory. The design challenge was to create a building that promotes connections on a variety of scales, both physically and programmatically. SmithGroup’s design establishes a new model for integrating research and academics by embracing the hybridization of elements in order to create new synergies within each distinct component. The resulting program connects research, academic pursuits, and housing of scholars around a dynamic, day-lit central atrium, encouraging collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and pedagogical innovation.
The concept of enlightenment guides the design, tying to the history of Fudan University and its prestigious legacy of higher learning. Inspired by the literal translation of Fudan, “Heavenly light shines day after day,” SmithGroup’s proposal uses natural and artificial lighting as the conceptual driver for this world class facility. Technical and poetic lighting design sculpt the atrium to reflect the sky, maximizing daylighting and providing areas for immersive and engaged learning. The result is an iconic building with an innovative academic ecosystem of research, instruction, living, recreation, and innovation.