Pritzker Prize-winning architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron just unveiled plans for the new Berggruen Institute campus, which will be constructed along a lush green ridge in the Santa Monica Mountains. The monastic-inspired design will provide a remote, peaceful setting for the Institute’s scholars and students to “study and apply new ideas to the workings of social, economic, and political institutions”.
The Institute’s hilltop campus will be an expansive complex, whose surrounding landscape is essential to the design itself. In fact, over 90% of the campus’ 450 acres will be preserved as open space in order to provide scholars and students with a peaceful environment suited to quiet contemplation as well as peer interaction.
The building site will be run along two ridges that reach 1,700 feet in altitude, allowing for guests and residents to enjoy beautiful views of the deep canyon on either side. At the heart of the complex will be the main research building – a rectangular concrete-framed structure that “floats” above ground. Two large domed buildings will be installed in its central courtyard, one will house a lecture auditorium and the other will be a water reservoir. According to the studio, the large spheres represent the socio-cultural and ecological ambitions of the Institute.
A green-filled linear park with native plants and installed with an eco-friendly water-management system will stretch along the ridge, leading from the research building to the Scholar’s Village. The Chairman’s Residence will be at the edge of the site, and will be clad in earth-colored walls and a large cantilevered roof to provide shade for the surrounding outdoor entertaining space. Plans also call for a series of cottages, as well as pavilions and various spaces for art installations along the western ridge.
Working in collaboration with the Institute, which was founded in 2010 by philanthropist and investor Nicolas Berggruen, the Swiss architects created the monastery-like complex to meet the needs of the campus, “Since ancient times, monasteries have been places for individual study and reflection as well as group exchange and gathering,” said Herzog & de Meuron. “In line with such scholastic tradition, the program incorporates the natural surroundings.”
Images via Herzog & de Meuron