Cyprus International University (CIU) is growing – both in size and in aspiration. Located near the country’s capital, Nicosia, the University has ambitious plans to increase its students from 17,000 to 24,000 by 2022. Arup was invited to develop a masterplan to guide and deliver its growth plans, considering its future academic and social needs.
Arup has worked with the client since 2017, first developing a vision, then advising on its implementation. Throughout the process, Arup engaged with the wider University community to shape the vision for the future physical development of the campus and translated this into a framework for implementation. Arup are currently working to deliver the first changes on the ground.
The masterplan, which drew upon the expertise of Arup’s Urban Design, Landscape and City Economics teams, is formed around 3 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; and
- enhancing the synergies and relationships between academia and the wider community
A growing campus
The initial brief included a series of new buildings to home a range of faculties varying from Medicine to Fine Arts & Architecture. We conducted an analysis of the campus operations which revealed the need to consider the programme in clusters rather than in isolation. In response, Arup proposed the inclusion of a new Central Library, Convention Center and Innovation Center (the 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 retrofit of the existing infrastructure. Our aim was to prepare the University for growth as well as bring the programme together as a whole, enhancing the experience of being on 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 us 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 the mountain range to the north and a watercourse along its 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%. We 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 the wider community from beyond the site and further connections are being established with the local businesses, academic and cultural organisations, as well as other relevant institutions. 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 Center will enable the University to strengthen its linkages with the tourism and trade sectors, while the new 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 us 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; and
- reinforcing a new centrality within the campus as an interface between different academic disciplines.\
Arup’s work has been well-received by the University and we continue to advise them on the architectural delivery of the masterplan.
Cyprus International University Campus Masterplan
Location: Nicosia, Northern Cyprus
Landscape Architect: Arup
Client: Cyprus International University, Levent Group
Image Credits: Arup