BenGurionUniversity of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
An oasis for learning
The School of Medicine, is located across the street from the main campus, on the grounds of a major hospital complex. The building program includes faculty and administrative offices, research laboratories, classrooms, a cafeteria, and an auditorium. The school is designed as an introverted place. It focuses upon a circular courtyard that is protected from the harsh external desert conditions by surrounding walls. The building is approached via a ramp and a set of stairs leading into an elevated entry hall and terminating outside in a balcony overlooking the courtyard. A public scale is maintained throughout the route which will extend and connect in the future, via a pedestrian bridge, to the Life Sciences complex across the street.
The route continues the architectural language of concrete from the campus, both within and without the building. Inside, it bisects the school into two zones and hovers above a foyer which functions as an exhibition hall for historical medical instruments. The public section of the building gravitates towards this exhibition hall and houses administrative offices and student facilities whereas the more private section gravitates towards the courtyard and houses faculty offices and laboratories. An elongated path envelops the courtyard, providing access to the outside, the cafeteria and the auditorium. Shade, green and water tame the intense light and glare within the courtyard and function together as an internal oasis - a place for meeting, learning and lingering.