AP University College

campus for higher education
At the tip of ‘Park Spoor Noord’, Artesis Plantijn University College has realised its new campus. The school building marks the start of the Leien boulevards. The exceptional location requires an exceptional, even iconic building. The first notable aspect of the design is the impressive, cantilevered volume with its diamond-shaped, external load-bearing structure in concrete. Viewers who look beyond the monumental nature of the facade will see that the building’s best features are very subtle.
Location

Noorderplaats
Antwerp
Belgium

Year
2015
Surface area
33.214m²
Status
realized
Client
Artesis Plantijn University College Antwerp
Architecture
  • Jaspers-Eyers Architects
Landscape design
  • Dirk Vandekerkhove Landschapsarchitecten
winning competition design
Nomination FEBE Elements Awards 2015
Photography
Stijn Bollaert
Toon Grobet
Sarah Blee

In the late 1990s, the city of Antwerp signed an agreement with the Belgian national railway company. The city was able to purchase an abandoned railyard covering 18 hectares for the symbolic sum of one euro and create a park on site. In exchange, the rail company was allowed to develop the remaining 6 hectares at the western tip. Italian city planners Bernardo Secchi and Paola Viganò drew the master plan. ‘Park Spoor Noord’ has since been completed. The elongated park cuts across the city and is considered one of the most successful urban renewal projects in Flanders in recent decades.

High-rise buildings are under construction at the head of the park. They contain offices, public facilities, apartments, and student housing. At the tip of this area, Artesis Plantijn University College has its new campus. The school building marks the start of the Leien boulevards, the busy roads crossing the city from north to south. Its counterpart to the south is the Law Courts with its butterfly roofs by architect Richard Rogers.

The exceptional location requires an exceptional, even iconic building. The Antwerp city architect, Kristiaan Borret, was able to persuade Artesis Plantijn University College to cancel its plans to use the less than satisfying results of a previous design contest and issue a new one. This time, the contest had a less stringent list of requirements and a more ambitious project definition. POLO Architects won the contest.

three design gestures define the building

"The design aims to realize the idea of an "open" campus within a limited building block. This design resolutely opts for a central green patio from which the common main functions are accessed through a glass walkabout. Due to its strong architectural expression and bold volume, the building acts like a proud new ‘character’ in the city.

We regard the building as a gift from the city and a gift to the city."

Read more
Patrick Lootens
ir. architect, urbanist
founding partner

construction

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