University of Mauritius, Mauritius

Client: University of Mauritius Area: 1,19,000 sq m Location: Reduit, Mauritius Role: Architectural & Engineering Design and Project Management

When the French dropped anchor in Mauritius in the 18th century it was an uninhabited island. They brought with them indentured labour from India and parts of Africa. Cut off from the land of their birth, they soon lost their language, but clung to their religion. Through their adopted language – Creole, they found a new identity influenced heavily by things French. The territory was ceded to the British about 200 years later on condition that the people are allowed to retain their culture roots that developed from the French.

In 1989 the University of Mauritius embarked on a major expansion that would make the institution a symbol of Mauritian advancement from a plantation economy to a morden tourist destination for Europe with a high standard of living, Given the mixed origins of their culture it was necessary to reinforce the French influence that Mauritians were so proud of in the design of this national institute. The design was therefore based on elements taken from French colonial architecture that had once provaile building. That the exercise was successful could be gauged from the newspaper headlines which proclaimed the design as ‘Indian Design, but French Spirit’.