Aecom, Gensler collaborate on campus in Kyrgyzstan mountains

The first phase of an international project to deliver state-of-the art university campuses to central Asian mountain communities has opened in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan.

The University of Central Asia (UCA) campus will be the first fully residential university in the remote region. Its aim will be to "increase access to an internationally recognised standard of higher education in central Asia and drive development in the region’s mountain societies".

The project so far includes an academic building with a library, dining hall, laboratories, classrooms and faculty housing, as well as student dormitories.

Japanese architect Arata Isozaki developed the original design for the UCA’s three planned campuses. The other two are located in Khorog in Tajikistan and Tekeli in Kyrgyzstan. They are scheduled to open in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

The university is using a multi-phase approach to allow for greater flexibility and minimise the need for retrofitting as the campus grows.  

US engineering giant Aecom has been involved with UCA since 2012, delivering a range of multidisciplinary services including masterplanning, landscape design, civil, structural and MEP engineering as well as specialist disciplines.

US architect Gensler worked on the architectural and interior design and Serbian consultancy Dizajn Arhitektura handled the detailed design and local permitting services.   
Design and construction of the Naryn Campus presented a number of technical challenges, as it is located in a highly seismic area with several active fault lines running through the site. The winter’s harsh climate also posed a challenge to the construction team, particularly when forming the concrete structure of the buildings.

Aecom’s team visited schools in Naryn to give presentations to students on subjects related to the evolving design of the campus, such as civil and structural engineering and landscape design.

UCA community projects include providing a 24-hour water supply for a nearby village, laying footpaths, planting trees, installing outdoor lighting and refurbishing faculty and visitor accommodation.

Michael Stimpson, associate director of building engineering at Aecom, said: "This project is about much more than creating a world-class university campus; it is about giving people from isolated mountain communities their first real opportunity to access an international standard of university education at a residential campus.

"The remoteness and harsh temperatures of Naryn have necessitated the development of robust engineering solutions, which provide the university’s students and staff with a safe, resilient environment in which to learn."

The Naryn campus is currently accommodating 71 undergraduates who moved in last month.

Image via University of Central Asia

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