UNIVERSITY COMPLEX WITH 8 AUDITORIUMS, LABORATORIES AND SERVICES IN WILRIJK | OPEN COMPETITION ORGANISED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF ANTWERP
Eight auditoriums, laboratories, study rooms and student facilities constitute the extensive programme to be housed in a passive building within the delicate, fragile and valuable green environment of the campus of the University of Antwerp Wilrijk. The tension is fascinating. How can we minimize the footprint and stack the functions in an optimal way? How can we guarantee relationships with the surrounding landscape in a passive building? And last but not least: how can the architecture contribute to studying, researching and the overall experience of the place?
The solution lies in a delicate balance between efficiency and poetry. The auditoriums are stacked two by two in a narrow tower, while an atrium, set at its core, functions as the circulation heart of the project. The building is crowned by a spectacular belvedere overlooking the skyline of the city of Antwerp. Social interaction, teaching, learning and researching are encouraged by the rich spatial configuration.
The building reads as a strong element in the landscape, clearly connected to the campus network through a square that acts as an urban stage. All around the building, nature is inaccessible, wild and intact.
The double helix formed by the spiral atrium staircases, symbolism, ornamentation throughout the building and the integration of art are in line with the mission of the project: scientific biological and medical research, DNA and life in all its dimensions.
Sustainability is supported by a deeper dimension: building in a sustainable way starts with landscaping and urban planning.
The quality of the learning and working environment is already set in the rough construction. Art ensures that the place where one has worked and learned, will never be forgotten.