International University of Ecuador (UIDE)

  • area / size 26,372 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • Location Quito, Ecuador,
  • Contract Workplaces designed an industrial and dynamic space for the International University of Ecuador (UIDE) in Quito, Ecuador.

    The International University of Ecuador (UIDE) is a leading higher education institution which embarked on a process of comprehensive transition and renewal as a result of its partnership with Arizona State University, the #1 innovator in the United States.

    The goal was to align the university’s physical spaces with its new curricula and pedagogical approach, both of which aimed to create a learning environment capable of promoting students’ complete development, academic quality, innovation and internationalization, with technology as the central lynchpin of all practices. Contract Workplaces’ education department, Recreo, was hired to support UIDE through this process of change, and to help the university to achieve its goals within an ecosystem that integrates all members of the academic community.

    This new project aimed to foster skills such as collaboration, research, critical thinking, problem solving and environmental awareness in the student body through rigorous and disruptive teaching methods firmly allied with the physical space. Another goal was to provide a renovated, friendlier environment for students, teachers and the administrative staff.

    With that in mind, we worked across the 21,650 sq ft of the first floor of the Classrooms building, which has its own sector within the 89-acre lot of the university’s main campus in the city of Quito. Various classroom types were incorporated there, some of which are adaptive, flexible and reconfigurable, capable of hosting a range of dynamics and activities, both individual and collaborative. The project also includes a dentistry lab, spaces for informal gatherings, a Coffee Point, support areas and lockers.

    In the center of the floorplan, in direct contact with the classrooms, we created a Collaboration Hub. This space comes with a variety of typologies to enable different collaboration and learning tasks, suitable for individuals and groups alike. Moreover, it also adapts to other ways of working such as informal meetups or tutorials. To that end, we designed stands which relate directly to the entrance and the reception area, and we created meeting rooms for four people, phone booths, meeting boxes and a hot desk area.

    In addition, the project enables the tenants to make use of the rooftop, which was practically abandoned, and enjoy the building’s amazing natural surroundings. For this purpose, the rooftop was equipped with outdoor furniture and various shading systems, along with resting points, called “shelters.” Students can now socialize there, share knowledge and work together in direct contact with nature.

    Creating a modern, warm and colorful environment where the UIDE community could feel comfort and a sense of ownership was part of the project’s aesthetic proposal. Although we followed the institutional colors indicated in the brand manual (wine red, mustard yellow, and blue), we also developed a secondary palette to expand the chromatic possibilities according to the use given to different spaces.

    Furthermore, it is worth noting that UIDE belongs to the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) and has always shown interest in promoting sustainability in all of its processes. The university is committed to various initiatives, such as the installation of water fountains equipped with a counter that shows how many cups are saved by its use, and the resulting environmental impact, which helps to increase visibility for this issue and expand users’ environmental awareness. It is also a pet friendly university: the UIDE Store sells all kinds of pet clothes.

    Design: Contract Workplaces
    Photography: Bicubik