Heatherwick Studio unveils colorful design for a new university building in Bogotá, Colombia

Heatherwick Studio released renderings today of the office’s first ever project in Latin America. The London- and Shanghai-based studio is imagining a new design school and makerspace for Universidad Ean in Bogotá, Colombia—one of the country’s leading academic institutions.

The 7-story building by Heatherwick Studio will be sited on Calle 72, one of Bogotá’s main arteries. It will provide a new home for Universidad Ean’s school of sustainable design, located on the existing campus in central Bogotá.

The architects said that the design, namely its front facade’s colorfully crafted columns and verdant terraces, pays homage to the “local craft traditions including Werregue basketry, a form of weaving unique to Colombia’s Wounaan indigenous community.”

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Evening View (NOD/Courtesy Heatherwick Studio)

Designers from Heatherwick Studio elaborated that their goal is to make a new center for the urban campus. The architect seeks to complement existing heritage structures nearby, and provide new public space for the city.

Eliot Postma, a partner at Heatherwick Studio, said: “Creativity is intrinsic to the city of Bogotá. You see it everywhere. We want students to feel proud of their campus before they even enter the building, arriving through a public square that offers passers-by a welcoming communal oasis amidst the hard urban surroundings.”

Renderings show the building faced with curved balconies on nearly every level. This is coupled with stacked organic shapes that form columns realized in a variety of colors—among these, red, blue, green, and yellow. Greenery spills out from the balconies and the crowns of the column-like structures.

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Terrace View (NOD/Courtesy Heatherwick Studio)

Moving ahead, the architects are working on innovative facade materials to accommodate for the high levels of sunlight the building will receive, given its altitude. The tentative building’s biophilic design seeks to incorporate local plant species into the facade’s terraces.

This gesture, Heatherwick Studio said, is meant to help Bogotá stay true to its pledge as a signatory of the C40 Urban Nature Declaration.

Construction on the academic building is slated to begin in 2025.

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