Campus Schoonmeersen Ghent Sports Hall

University College Ghent, Belgian Campus Building, Sports Hall, Architects

Campus Schoonmeersen Ghent, Belgium

Campus Schoonmeersen Development design by SADAR + VUGA Arhitekti

26 Apr 2012

University College Ghent

Campus Schoonmeersen

Design: SADAR + VUGA d.o.o. with LENS°ASS Architecten

University College Ghent Sports Hall Extension

The new sports hall becomes a northern gate to the campus. Its monolithic volume is on the northern side lifted up, opening its interior sports ground to a viewing from the surrounding. Namely, an englazed stripe under the cantilevered volume unveils activities indoor to a passer-by, drivers and visitors of the campus.

A careful dimensioning of the stripe as well as its connecting to a campus pedestrian route triggers a curiosity of passers by and attracts them to enter the building. Once inside, a ramp, an access to stands in the cantilevered level, becomes a deviation of the campus pedestrian route, creating a public promenade through the building.

University College Ghent Campus Schoonmeersen Belgium - Building
image © SADAR + VUGA

A visual connection between outside and inside which happens on the sports ground is interrupted by positioning a stands level in the cantilevered part of the volume: here the main focus of spectators is a sport or entertaining event on the sports ground and there should be no visual obstacles.

The new sports hall takes advantage of the existing structure: what is there already should be reused and adapted with minimum interventions. Therefore the core space at the end of the existing building gets extended and adapted to house new administration, the gym and the meeting and social areas. It becomes a mediator between the new and the existing sports hall. Its exterior facade becomes the interior wall of the new sports hall.

The monolithic volume of the new sports hall is fairly simple, compact, non structured, almost abstract.

Campus Schoonmeersen Belgium Building
image © SADAR + VUGA

The wrap of the volume is non-neutral. Its semi reflective concave/convex surface mediates the happenings in its immediate surroundings into the building, creating a context’s blurred and twisted appearance and emphasizing its dynamics.

Movement of trains, people passing by or athletes on running tracks reflected in the building surface, together with a ‘projection of the interior sports events create an ever changing appearance of the building. Thus, the monolithic volume of the new sports hall becomes a presentation device of a sports atmosphere of the campus.

Student Plaza and Renovation of Building B

The student plaza is considered as this vast area where a common nominator to different functional and atmospheric zones is a hexagonal pavement. The plaza does not have sharply defined edges: hexagonal pavement smoothly transit either into grass, gravel or asphalt surfaces, outlining the plaza more as a zone than a completely defined area.

This is an area of main informal activities and social gatherings of the entire campus. The plaza visually, spatially and functionally transits into a new multipurpose cafeteria positioned in the volume of the existing auditoria and adjacent entrance hall.

Renovation of Building B and Student Plaza ; Renovation of Building B and Student Plaza – Overall ; Renovation of Building B – Interior:
University College Ghent Campus Campus Schoonmeersen Belgium Building University College Ghent Building
images © SADAR + VUGA

The vastness of the plaza and its deliberately loose programmatic definition of micro-zones calls for a focal point, for a center. Our proposal suggests a large monolithic urban element, a circular water mirror like fountain on their southern part of the plaza, where southern part of the campus transits into the northern one. The presence of the circular fountain acts as a switch, as an attractor on the otherwise transitory plaza.

The fountain consists of two parts: a circular water mirror and circular wood paved bends which under different angles embrace the water mirror. The fountain appears as big ‘EYE’, reflecting its surroundings and people sitting, laying or playing around in the water surface.

The Eye on the plaza becomes a destination not only for students but for inhabitants of Ghent too. The water mirror connects to the water channeling concept of the master plan, as well as to the presence of the water in the center of Ghent.

After analyzing the existing situation, we found out that the current distribution of the program is conceived in an illogical manner. The student plaza faces the blind wall of the today’s auditorium. The cafeteria, on the contrary, is located in the anonymous area behind building B. The two programs, plaza and cafeteria are not linked at all. In addition, building B also has a limited number of accesses which creates a funnel-effect.

To create a vibrant student plaza, the square needs to be linked directly to programs that reinforce its function as a central public space where students want to stay. Therefore we swap the position of the cafeteria and auditorium. The cafeteria is in this way directly linked to the student plaza and the auditorium to the calmer area at the back of building B.

The structure of the current auditorium is stripped, the closed walls are partly cut out. A bright space is generated that opens to the central plaza. Folding doors emphasize the open feeling. The finishings are brute.

The central part of the floor of the current cafeteria will be let down, a stage is automatically provided. By providing a tour around the central space we create a dynamic space where interactive lessons can be given. Obstruction is provided by curtains al around.

Campus Schoonmeersen Belgium Building
images © SADAR + VUGA

University College Ghent – Building Information

Type: Educational, culture
Source: Open Call invited competition, first prize
Client: HOGENT, Gent

Project phase: competition

Site: Gent, Belgium

Student Plaza
Site area: 9 182,96 m2

New SOAG building
Building surface area: 14 967,85 bruto
Site area: 20 000,00 m2

Building B renovation
Building surface area: – m2 bruto
Site area: 9 182,96 m2

Sports hall extension
Building surface area: 2 597,60 m2 bruto Site area: 3 731,37 m2

Programme: School for social studies, sports hall extension and renovation of building B lobby and student plaza

Structure: Reinforced Concrete, Steel structure

Sadar + Vuga
(Jurij Sadar, Boštjan Vuga, Jure Hrovat, Peter Sovinc, Victor Barbalato III, Andreas Cesarini, Jurij Ličen)
(Bart Lens – arch., Georg Schmidthals – ir. arch., Thijs Prinsen – arch., Arian Schelstraete – int. arch., Veerle Ramaekers – arch. assistant, Ariadnna Varela – adm.)

Structure consultants
Atelier One + Bureau Partners nv
(Aran Chadwick – ir., Luis Fernandez – ir., Maria Eugenia Villafane – ir.arch., Wim Schamp – ir.arch., Nik Vandemaele – arch., Jozef Vandroogbroeck – ir., Aelbrecht Moorgat – ir.)

Environmental consultants
Bureau Partners nv
(Wim Schamp – ir.arch., Nik Vandemaele – arch., Jozef Vandroogbroeck – ir., Aelbrecht Moorgat – ir.)

(Paul Mees – ir., Filip Descamps – ir., Martijn Vercammen – ir., Bert Cosemans – ir., Friedl Decock – ir. arch., Dries Haesenconck – ir. arch.)
Snoeck & Partners nv
(Hugo Snoeck – ir. arch., Joost Declercq – ir. arch., Dirk Rapol – stedenbouwkundige)

University College Ghent Campus Schoonmeersen images / information from SADAR + VUGA Arhitekti


Ed. If interested in this practice please read ‘SADAR + VUGA: A Review’, it is the most intriguing and interesting architecture book I’ve read in the last year – Ed. Adrian Welch.

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