Cyprus International University (CIU) is growing, both in size and aspirations. Located near Nicosia, the University has ambitious plans to increase its students from 17,000 to 24,000 by 2022. We have worked with the client since 2017, first developing a vision, then designing a masterplan and advising on its implementation. Throughout the process, we engaged with the wider University community to shape the vision for the future physical development of the campus.

Architecture, Construction & Design Awards 2020
First Award |  Urban Design (Built)

Project Name: Cyprus International University
Studio Name: Arup

Design Team: Arthur Smart (Project Director), Daniel Portilla (Project Manager), Pei Chin Lin, Rimjhim Chauhan, Dima Zogheib, Joana Ferro, Rebecca Chau, Anastasia Vikhornova, Zung Nguyen Vu, Zach Wilcox, Felix Keser, Akshaya Kannan

Area: 60 ha
Year: 2017 – present
Location: Nicosia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Consultants: None
Photography Credits: Arup

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The masterplan 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.
Cyprus International University Masterplan By Arup - Sheet2

The brief included a series of new buildings for a range of faculties. An analysis of the campus operations revealed the need to consider the programme in clusters rather than in isolation. In response, we proposed the inclusion of a new Central Library, Convention Center and Innovation Center (the Ideas Nest) to help unlock new synergies. Several campus-wide changes 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 and bring the programme together as a whole, enhancing the experience of being in a cohesive campus.


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New ways of learning

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. We developed 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 and student-run shops.

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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. 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 position it as an exemplar model for both clean energy and circular economy initiatives, and enable students to engage in sustainability initiatives. We carried out an in-depth assessment of these systems and proposed guidelines and initiatives to ensure a continued sustainable future for the University.

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Synergies and relationships

The new public realm will attract the wider community and further connections are being established with the local businesses, academic and cultural organisations. The new Ideas Nest will enable knowledge-sharing and collaboration, unveiling a space for innovation and research opportunities in the region. Similarly, the new Heritage Museum and Convention Center will enable the University to strengthen its linkages with tourism and trade sectors, while new sustainability initiatives and medical faculties will ensure CIU is well-placed to develop opportunities from the future growth of sectors such as renewable energy and healthcare.