UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
CRiiAS stands for "Centro de Recursos de Investigación Interdisciplinaria y Aprendizaje Subgraduado" . This new space houses an Interdisciplinary Research and Undergraduate Learning Resource Center.
Our design aims to create and promote whole integration amongst students and the faculty, defying traditional pedagogy. Contrasting with the standards,
the classrooms have been designed to encourage investigation, problem-solving, innovation, and the search for new knowledge, by providing multifunctional rooms and furniture that will allow for different sitting arrangements and combinations according to its use and activities.
The CRiiAS space consists of open spaces, free of visual physical barriers. They also have natural lighting and generous height. It was integrated into the existing Natural Science Department, which is an eligible historic property, according to the Puerto Rico State Historic Preservation Office. Our intervention respects the existing building, designed by late architect Thomas Marvel, by incorporating its structural and space rhythm. Likewise, the offices located in the cantilevered volumes are framed by the existing structure. Our design and materiality, different from what exists, create a contrast in which each of the structures stands out. The volumes are covered with a metal mesh that embodies the CRiiAS logo that interacts with the sun to create patterns of light and shadow.
CRiiAS is a project that is conceived as a resource that serves not only the Department of Natural Sciences but one that can also be accessible to all of the university's learning community. CRiiAS is the first space of its kind in Puerto Rico and can be implemented as a blueprint and paradigm for other faculties, campuses, and colleges that wish to follow this new path that generates collaborative investigation.