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La Facultad de Ingeniería (Faculty of Engineering) is one faculty in the Universidad de la República. The University is the largest in the country. The University was founded in 1849 and in 2012 had over 100,000 registered students. The university is spread out across the city of Montevideo.
The faculty of Engineering is located just 300 meters away from the mouth of the River Plate as it flows into the Atlantic ocean giving the students a lovely view as they study. The faculty sits in the Punta Carretas neighbourhood. On its south side sits a large golf course, on its north side the Luis Franzini stadium, on its north-west side the Juegos del Parque Rodo, a small amusement park, and on its west side a public beach. The faculty is therefore in the centre of one of the important recreational areas in the city. The building is surrounded by four large roads namely the Rambla Pte. Wilson, the Avenue Julio Maria Sosa, the Avenue Julio Herrera y Reissig and the Avenida Sarmiento. The buildings main entrance is on the East side towards the city.
The faculty of Engineering was founded in 1888 and had over 7,500 students in 2012. The building’s main architects was Julio Vilamajó an Uruguayan architect who lived from 1894-1948. His most notable work is the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York. Julio Vilamajó was one of the members of the team who designed the building along with Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer and others.
Construction of the building started in 1938 and was completed in 1953, though the building was partially opened in 1945. The building can be divided into 4 main sections. The main buildings and then three smaller low buildings two on the north and one on the south side. Both of these buildings are connected via a corridor. The one on the south side is an elevated bridge corridor.
The main building is made up of an ‘L’ shaped form with the longer side being 9 floors. The shorter side has almost no windows and has a rooftop terras. The first floor is lifted off the ground creating a covered area for students to hang out during their breaks if the weather is bad.
The main construction material is concrete and the building is clearly inspired by modernist architecture like the Unité d’habitation in Marseille by Le Corbusier. The elevated first floor is one of Le Corbusier’s 5 design principles. Each of the buildings facades has a different window layout and texture. Making the building dynamic for every side and creating visual markers for the viewer as to where they are. The interior of the building shows a lot of the raw concrete that is used, this allows students to understand the structure of the building from the inside and out.
The building gives students and comfortable area to increase their understanding of construction and engineering. It is a masterpiece of modernist architecture where the structure of the building is laid bare for all to enjoy and understand.