With its Mediterranean setup serving as a key, the masterplan for this project revolves around sustainability and building relationships with the wider community.
Located near the country’s capital of Nicosia, Cyprus International University (CIU) is growing—both in size and in aspiration. Arup was invited to develop a masterplan to guide and deliver its growth plans, considering its future academic, social and sustainability goals.
The firm has worked with the client since 2017, first developing a vision, then advising on its implementation. Throughout the process, the architects engaged with the wider university community to shape the vision for the future physical development of the campus considering the existing buildings by Saffet Kaya Architects, and translated this into a framework for implementation. Currently, work is on to deliver the first changes on the ground.
The masterplan, which drew upon the expertise of the Urban Design, Landscape Architecture and City Economics teams, is formed around three key principles:
- Building on the strengths of the university and establishing a testbed for new ways of learning beyond the classroom.
- Recognising its location and landscape setting as a Mediterranean campus, as a way of enhancing sustainable outcomes.
- Enhancing the synergies and relationships between academia and the wider community with the aim of improving knowledge-sharing and unveiling a possibility for R&D investment opportunities in the region.
A growing campus
The initial brief included a series of new buildings to house a range of faculties, varying from Medicine to Fine Arts & Architecture. An analysis of the campus operations was conducted, which revealed the need to consider the programme in clusters rather than in isolation. In response, a proposal was made to include a new Central Library, Convention Centre and Innovation Centre (Ideas Nest) to help unlock new synergies within the campus. Several campus-wide initiatives such as new amenities, open spaces, and services for students were also considered, as well as retrofitting of the existing infrastructure. The aim was to prepare the university for growth as well as bring the programme together as a whole, enhancing the experience of being in a cohesive campus.
New ways of learning
The masterplan is focused on the quality of the student experience. By looking at learning beyond the formal walls of the classroom, the enviable campus landscape is an asset providing a unique opportunity for informal learning. A collaboration with Arup’s Digital Studio helped develop a series of smaller interventions to sit alongside the masterplan and provide the finer grain of design detail to support new ways of learning. These light-touch interventions include pop-up podiums, study nooks, student-run shops and a live feed wall.
A Mediterranean campus
The campus is located in an impressive setting, with beautiful views of a mountain range to the north and a watercourse along the west, bridging between a natural and semi-urban landscape. Moreover, the hot, semi-arid climate of Nicosia makes microclimate engineering and the conscious use and management of resources a necessity.
The sustainable systems devised for water, energy and waste management implemented by CIU will position it as an exemplar model for both clean energy and circular economy initiatives, and enable students to engage in sustainability initiatives. CIU is able to generate 35% of its annual electricity demand on site and a future biofuel plant will increase the autonomy capacity of the campus to over 60%. The firm carried out an in-depth assessment of these systems and proposed guidelines and initiatives to ensure a continued sustainable future for the university.
Building wider relationships
The new public realm on campus will attract a wider community from beyond the site and establish further connections with local businesses, academic and cultural organisations. The new Ideas Nest will enable knowledge-sharing and collaboration, unveiling a possibility for innovation and R&D investment opportunities in the region. Similarly, the new Heritage Museum and Convention Centre will help the university to strengthen its linkages with the tourism and trade sectors, while the sustainability initiatives and medical faculties will ensure CIU is well-placed to develop opportunities that arise from the future growth of sectors such as renewable energy and healthcare.
Delivering the vision
Working collaboratively with CIU enabled the architects to successfully deliver a masterplan of real value, which responds to the needs of the students, academics and staff, and benefits the wider community of Nicosia and the region. Key moves include:
- engaging with the wider community to invite
civic uses into the campus;
- encouraging active travel through better pedestrian connectivity, quality and comfort, supported by an efficient parking and public transport strategy;
- celebrating the Mediterranean landscape and the opportunities for learning beyond the classroom, while encouraging students to engage in sustainability initiatives; and
- reinforcing a new centrality within the campus as an interface between different academic disciplines.
Photo credit: Arup, CIU
Project: Cyprus International University Masterplan
Client: Levent Group
Masterplan Architects: Arup
Buildings Architects: Saffet Kaya Architects
Building Retrofit Architects: Arup
Design Team: Arthur Smart (Project Director), Daniel Portilla (Project Manager), Pei Chin Lin, Rimjhim Chauhan, Dima Zogheib, Joana Ferro, Rebecca Chau, Anastasia Vikhornova, Zung Nguyen Vu, Zach Wilcox, Felix Keser, Akshaya Kannan
Relevant facts: 12 new faculty and ancillary buildings,
30% increase in built area, 35% of energy generated on site, 100% of irrigation water from treatment
Area: 150,000 sq m
Site area: 60.5 ha