In 2011 META and SW architects, in collaboration with Technum, submitted their design for a new-build project for Artesis Northern Campus. The project is located at the top of Park Spoor Noord in Antwerp, and forms the corner where the Noorderlaan meets the Italielei. A new ramped linear park, as proposed in the City Development Plan, runs adjacent to our site, connecting, via a footbridge over the Italielei, the city centre and Het Eilandje, with Park Spoor Noord.
The site, due its location and history as the former home of the North Station, forms an urban gateway to the city boulevard. The building, compact and readable in form, consists of an L-shaped volume extruded over 7 levels on the Italielei and 3 on the Ellermanstraat. The single storey plinth, that extends over the majority of the site, provides a spacious roof terrace that is accessed both from the building itself, and from the adjacent ramped park. In the cantilevered gesture over the park the “gateway” concept gains gravitas, being both readable from the park itself and from the Noorderlaan.
The two main entrances can be found on the ground floor from the Italielei, and one level up, via the park under the cantilever. Both of these spaces meet in a 10 metre high entrance hall, from which the horizontal and vertical circulation strips extend over the whole building. Through the integration of this circulation with the meeting- and self-study zones, a lively and open character is created throughout the school.
The public functions are contained in the plinth. In clustering this programme along the street façade, an interactive relationship between inside and outside is created, activating the adjacent public space. The offices of the three departments (Healthcare, Business, Teacher training, Social work) are located on the upper levels. Each department has an allocation of classrooms that cater to their specific needs, with additional shared standard classrooms available.
Entrance Italiëlei (Visualization: Joost Van Rossenberg) Central hall (Visualization: Joost Van Rossenberg)
The structural build-up consists of a central core and load-bearing facades, enabling a maximum of flexibility in the plan. The wedge-shaped plan, a given from the City Development Plan, is divided along a central bisector into two equal parts. In placing the core along this central bisector, the wedge shaped plan is used to our advantage, with the variation in classroom depth corresponding perfectly with the variation in terms of classroom sizes required.
The façade is classical in its build up, consisting of a plinth, middle and crown. In constructing the façade out of deep concrete elements, we have immediately the advantage of reduced solar gains, rendering additional solar shading unnecessary. The technical installations are integrated into the building volume in the form of the crown. With respect to the neighbouring towers, this level is roofed in a surface of steel grills, forming the fifth façade of the building.
Classroom (Visualization: Joost Van Rossenberg) Auditorium (Visualization: Joost Van Rossenberg)
Terrace & Library (Visualization: Joost Van Rossenberg)