Learning aerodymincally

25 Feb 2010

S.A.R. designs sustainable new campus for 3,000 students

Artesis University College Antwerp is one of the most important university colleges in Flanders. It organised an architectural contest for the realisation of a new campus for 3,000 students containing three faculties, a library and offices for the general staff.

The project area is situated in the Antwerp agglomeration within the nineteenth century area in the ‘Zurenborg’ district. The construction area is located along the highway R1 and very nearby the train / tram / bus junction. Because of the plantation, the design and the choice of material, the campus will become a graphic point of recognition along the most important front of Antwerp.

Concerning the concept, the constant changing evolutions in technology were held into consideration. The architects Johan Bosschem and Jan De Vloed try to realise a sustainable study and working environment. The design is translated into three aerodynamic lobs, separated from each other by ‘green axes’. These green axes penetrate the complex and provide the building with light and air. They also visualise the relations between the great sections of Campus Nieuw and the coming expansion. Next to that a fascinating confrontation is provided with the existing modernistic office building. The arising tension field between two architectural worlds makes the dynamic of the new operation stronger. The core of the building is formed by the social zone. The different faculties and the central administration are connected to this.

The building consists out of four great departments: central area containing entrée hall, cafeteria, services and head circulations; three auditoria connected on a central area; three lobs, each of them containing one faculty and general classrooms on the lower floors, and the renovated existing Mincklerbuilding with a library, central administration, logistic departments and storages.The three volumes symbolise the future orientated education, the conservation of the modernist Mincklerbuilding represents the concern for a sustainable relation to the past.

Inside, connecting the lobs, the bright entry hall with the auditoria, the cafeteria and the passageways adjacent, makes for a junction for meeting and reflecting. A poetic art integration project of visual artist Christine Deboosere will complete the space.The aerodynamic design and titanium façade is a metaphor for fast evolving higher education that cares about cutting edge technology and innovation.

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