PXL School of Arts

competition design
POLO’s design for a new building for the arts college in Hasselt offers budding artists a minimalist but stimulating framework devised to provoke interaction and creativity.


Surface area
competition design
Hogeschool PXL

The project site is located on a campus where POLO has already realised a couple of buildings. It is located at the meeting point of two important axes which are developing from the city centre connecting outwards: a “knowledge axis” towards Diepenbeek University and a “creative axis” towards the new Corda campus.

Here the city campus also makes the connection to the centre of Hasselt and its many cultural attractions. Its arrangement of free-standing buildings in a park offers a welcome green refuge in close proximity to urban density. The diversity of functions makes for a lively ambience, with some residential blocks added to ensure vibrancy and human presence at all times of the day and throughout the year. It is an environment that envisages bridging the gap between education and the emerging creative economy, with start-up companies and private enterprises interspersed with the various educational facilities.

Liberating structure

A central spine for interacting and exhibiting

Along the shift in floor levels that creates the split level layout we find an atrium which runs the entire length of the building. This circulation spine becomes a generous meeting place for creative exchanges to take place and exhibitions to be hosted. Large timber staircases sit like giant pieces of furniture in this light-filled space, providing vertical links. Their materiality brings a warm focus to the bare concrete austerity of the structure.

As an oversized, multi-level corridor this “Foyer des Arts” connects to the existing building of the arts college through a two-level corridor wing. At the opposite side two new building annexes are provided, housing a fashion incubator and a residential facility for disadvantaged youngsters. The latter provides a modest vertical exclamation mark and end-point as a kind of “donjon” to the new educational compound we propose.

Associated themes