this architecture school in belgium occupies the interior of a historical city block where buildings with different identities and from periods coexist. designed by lisbon-based studio aires mateus, the new all-white structure has been positioned to unite the school’s campus, which is located in the city of tournai near the french border. the site’s existing buildings, which include two industrial structures and a former convent, are connected vertically and horizontally throughout.

aires mateus belgium
the architecture faculty building is located in the belgian city of tournai
image © tim van de velde (also main image)

 

 

aires mateus’ intervention at université catholique de louvain, belgium’s largest french-speaking university, also defines a series of new external spaces. inside the architecture faculty building, public functions are sheltered, like the foyer and auditorium, operating not only as circulation routes and meeting places, but also as a part of a new identity. there are two auditoriums, with 300 and 150 seats, while the historic structures contain the school’s administrative offices.

aires mateus belgium
an arched void recalls the city’s historic passages
image © tim van de velde

 

 

although informed by eclectic architectural styles, the scheme is fundamentally a contemporary reinterpretation of tournai’s architecture. the site’s two industrial buildings are connected by an arch that recalls the city’s historic passages. this allows students and professors to easily move from one building to the other to access architectural studios. this void also serves as the faculty’s main entrance and is extended by a large forum where both students and teachers can congregate and exchange ideas.

aires mateus belgium
the design occupies the interior of a historical city block 
image © tim van de velde

aires mateus belgium
the all-white structure has been positioned to unify the campus
image © tim van de velde

aires mateus belgium
the intervention also defines a series of new external spaces
image © tim van de velde

aires mateus belgium
the building features a dramatic internal staircase
image © tim van de velde

aires mateus belgium
the scheme is a contemporary reinterpretation of tournai’s architecture
image © tim van de velde

aires mateus belgium
the facility has two auditoriums, with 300 and 150 seats
image © tim van de velde

aires mateus belgium
students and professors can move easily from one building to another
image © tim van de velde

aires mateus belgium
external spaces can be used for recreation
image © tim van de velde

aires mateus belgium
the site’s existing buildings are connected vertically and horizontally throughout the block
image © tim van de velde

aires mateus belgium
the site’s existing buildings include two industrial structures and a former convent
image © tim van de velde

 

 

project info:

 

name: architecture faculty in tournai
client: université catholique de louvain
location: tournai, belgium
date of project: 2014-2015
date of construction: 2015-2017
surface area: 5,990 sqm
built area: 7,010 sqm
site area: 6,200 sqm

 

authors: manuel and francisco aires mateus
project leader: jorge p silva
collaborators: susana rodrigues, joana carmo simões, vânia fernandes, sara nobre, sofia paradela, inês gulbenkian, bernardo sousa, isabel sousa, aiden thornhill, théophile legrain, antoine pruvost, charles cossement
engineering: tradeco
constructor: tradeco

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