Procedure Architecture competition
Client Antwerp University
Surface 8670 m2
The fusion of the Industrial Engineering departments of the Artesis Hogeschool and the Karel de Grote Hogeschool has resulted in a new Faculty of Applied Sciences at the University of Antwerp.
A number of simple, robust volumes logically house the programme in the required relation to the ground level. The volumes define a number of outdoor spaces and give the university an open, accessible and public character in the park. A public square on the entrance side faces Groenenborgerlaan and the current university campus. The spaces where regular loading and unloading is required are grouped around a work yard. The optional part is a separate volume to be built against the north side of the base volume.
A school with a large number of laboratories tickles the imagination. More than a classical school building, it may have the sturdiness of a factory. An urban factory in a park. A refined interaction between spaces of different scales, logically stacked, coupled and linked.
The readability of scale and stacking in the facade offers the possibility to communicate the unusual content in an indirect way. It radiates its strangeness and arouses curiosity. The technicality of the education is communicated in an attractive way, without resorting to high-tech jargon.
Concrete acts as the main material. In addition to the technical knowledge acquired here, the building will also display the versatility of this material: aspects of production and finishing, roughness versus refinement. The aim is to achieve a poetic whole when elaborating the inner and outer walls, floors, walls and ceilings. Not a swatch card of the possibilities, but an unexpected application of the material, which can inspire the students at any moment.
Colour, structure and the distribution of panels add a second, sometimes unexpected layer to the façade. Certain proportions are ignored, others reinforced. The composition is layered.
In the interior, concrete is also used to emphasise the directness of the structural construction and the logic of the large-scale laboratory spaces.