Lecture Hall 3, University of Alacant

The Lecture Hall 3 building is an emergency operation designed and built on a marginal site, surrounded by highways and parking lots.

Given the physical impossibility of extending the campus and the urgent need to create new teaching facilities, the university decided to paralyse the piled foundation work under way for warehouse units at the south-east edge of the campus. The plot, which had been chosen for that purpose as it was the most peripheral site on the campus, was the only piece of land that was still available for the lecture hall building. It is outside the ring-road that marks off the pedestrian area of the campus and lies diagonally to this, surrounded by car parks.
The building is required to house lecture halls of different sizes, some associated offices and a small shop. Isolated in a highly hostile environment, it must rely on its own resources as protection from the noise and visual pollution of the vast car parks and to make it an appealing, fitting place. The project had to be ready in six weeks, the building work completed in six months and the structure had to use the piled foundations already in place.

The foundations that had been laid for a series of light-weight industrial units suggested the serial organisation of the building. This in turn made it possible to create a sequence of transverse courtyards, which are used to provide light instead of opening up the façades. The weakness of the foundations demanded a single-storey construction and in order to overcome the rigidity and scantiness of the 5 x 10-m grid, a structure of concrete walls and slabs was designed that could soar up in any direction from the supporting foundations.