University college KHBO - Campus Bruges

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University college KHBO - Campus Bruges
The school is the world Johan Bosschem: “We worked out an architectural concept that unites the learning environment and the world. We strongly encouraged interaction between the inside and outside world in its expressive gesture, its transparency, and its receptive location on the site. I have acquired enormous experience in regard to the building of schools. As an architect, and also a professor – I was also an interim dean for a while – I am closely involved in the organisation of education and pedagogical programmes. So I know the needs and desires of the education system from within. Nowadays, the importance of the classroom is greatly reduced, and self-development is ever more central. That is why we organised an inspiring study environment.` The atrium and study facility of KHBO give shape to an almost archetypical space. The intruding concrete walls are like the ‘strongholds’ of Tadao Ando, ‘drenched in virtues and sorrow’. In this stronghold of knowledge and self-fulfilment, all the facilities of a contemporary learning environment are at hand. And nowadays, there is the matter of the transition from purely functionally arranged spaces to environments that pay much attention to the value of experience and entertainment. Johan Bosschem: “Our intention is to encourage independent study. Students spend a lot of time here. We have tried to boost this aim at independent study as much as possible. With this thought in mind, we have created an inviting and pleasant study landscape.` The KHBO board expressly looked for visibility, a beacon in the city, and eventually chose an architecture that ‘speaks aloud’. Bruges’ ultimate academic dream got its materialised equivalent, so to speak. Can we speak of contemporary ‘architecture parlante’ here? The KHBO building, too, gives voice to a changing world. New architecture leaves its own greatness, breaks through its self-absorbed schemes, to become an authentic, human living space. With its expressive design, however, we see an architecture that still expresses the desire to be at the centre of things. Integral architecture The layout of the new KHBO building was realised with the greatest care, and the Association with the residential surroundings was well considered. To create as much green zone as possible, the architects pushed the building close to the neighbouring Expressway N31. This created a sound screen, an intermediary zone, and also a visual buffer between the busy traffic axis and the green campus. The limited occupation of the site has its own logic, and is based on a vision of social relevance. Indeed, through this layout, the architects have optimised public visibility. The site was given a strong additional public dimension through the provision of maximum parking space. KHBO stimulates the use of public transport and offers ample facilities to cyclists. On the campus, traffic is entirely divided into zones. Accessibility and mobility were important in the design for the occupation of the site. Johan Bosschem and Jan De Vloed have paid particular attention to the development of a structure that facilitates optimal flexibility. The modular approach of its architecture offers opportunities for the future, and can be tuned to the prevailing pedagogical views of the moment. The design is powerful and coherent. The ambition was an integrated architecture, with a strong synergy between the different parts. The advisory engineers, the landscape architect, and the creative artist, all contributed to this. Art and architecture, structure, and technical equipment, maintain themselves, in the view of Bosschem, in perfect balance. Design methodology For architect Johan Bosschem, the design methodology is of primordial importance, Because it determines the design. Architecture is complex and contradictory. For Johan Bosschem, the stimulating Challenge lay precisely in this complexity: “You always have to come to grips with the site. Its character as urban environment or countryside is already established. When you have an impact on these surroundings, then you are creating architecture.` In fact, the practice of architecture is ambiguous, comprehensive, and full of tension, not to mention the many conflicts. This has to do with architecture’s Vitruvian ambition to unite usefulness, beauty, and technical ingenuity. This connects with its spatial dimension, and the opportunities the built space has at its disposal to mediate between opposing kinds of space. “The medium of architectureis space. I deal very consciously with that in the design process, particularly with the space between the so-called functions. Sublimated meetings In cities the world over, stairways are more than passage ways: they are also meeting places, lingering points, or places to simply quieten down and enjoy the sun or view. “The atrium is an important place in the KHBO story. Here, the networks come into being, and all the way upstairs, space ends in silent space. There is a certain symbolism to that, of course. Light streams in through the curtain walls and two skylights. In the atrium, you strongly and actively relive the space in the build-up of experiences. You do not get the feeling that you are walking in a building, but rather in a city. We have created a minor city with pathways. You can wander in it. It is a place where meetings are sublimated. People form networks that come into being exactly in that interspace, the ‘other’ space. Between the curtain walls, we have created very comfortable sitting areas – they refer to outdoor cafés in streets. The urban feeling is also reinforced by the many windows that look out on the atrium.


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