CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATION RITS, BRUSSELS | OPEN CALL, ORGANISED BY THE ERASMUSHOGESCHOOL BRUSSELS AND THE FLEMISH GOVERNMENT ARCHITECT, 1ST LAUREATE
AWARDS Edubuild Arch School Award 2011 – special award for the client
A culturally driven user with healthy ambitions, but in a ramshackle housing. The original cluster of buildings of the RITS (a department of the Erasmus University College of Brussels) had an almost labyrinthine morphology. Over time the structure was transformed into an amalgam with very little spatial or functional consistency. Although the program of the school is closely connected to arts and visual appearance, it even lacked the sympathetic and artistic atmosphere of an impoverished painting studio.
The need for a legible circulation pattern led to a fundamental rearrangement: a central entrance with in its axis a connector which provides a clear connection to all departments and simultaneously – in the basement and on the ground floor – acts as a walkway right through the block. The new underground zone now receives a lot of daylight and has ample views towards two new gardens in the core of the city-block. This allowed to activate a large part of the derelict basement and use it for ancillary functions. Furthermore, the complex was extended with two new class wings, a new underground cinema and recording studios for sound and film.
Everywhere in the transformed complex the activities of RITS are made a lot more visible. This not only leads to a better working environment for teachers and students but also gives the entire building a creative and artistic atmosphere which is consistent with its cultural and educational mission. At the entrance a new public café and exhibition area allows the school to organise public film performances and show its cultural mission and dynamics to the city of Brussels.