A striking bridge building
The Tichelrij Campus is located in the town of St. Truiden in Belgium: a school complex containing kindergarten, primary and secondary education. The new building for secondary education is strategically positioned over the street like a bridge, establishing a connection between the two parts of the campus. In this way, the building also forms a new gateway to the campus. Beneath it, a covered playground, waiting area, meeting space and a multipurpose room are located. A forest of columns and composition of bench seats make this area an attractive place to pause.
We have reorganized the campus grounds and combined the various functions, such as sports fields, playgrounds and areas for parking bicycles and cars, in an omnifarious ‘patchwork’ of spaces for children in different age groups, bordered by a recognizable square of trees. Preserving valuable landscape assets and recycling the old paving stones, the “green” character of the project played a prominent part in the design. New constructions seamlessly conforms to this patchwork.
Durable qualities of the project
An extremely flexible, multifunctional building. A building that simultaneously forms a remarkable gateway to the campus and a covered playground. The eye-catching new building is a free-standing, compact two-storey volume. The interior space has a flexible layout due to its generic structure, which is legible on the outside. The facade is draped around the structure as a dress. A central ambulatory connects three zones of connectable spaces. Within this neutral framework, the building can evolve with the changing needs of the user. The load bearing structure is a skeleton of prefabricated concrete elements. The large thermal mass of the concrete accumulates the heat produced by the children. The height of the classrooms helps create a fresh, healthy indoor climate. Deep setbacks in the facade reduce heat nuisance in summer. At the top of each setback there is a tilting fanlight window with a sunblind mounted beneath it to shade the lower part. A facade with a geometric pattern of dark and light Eternit plates reinforces the sculptural character of the volume. The interior, with its wooden wall paneling and colored surfaces can easily compete with aesthetics of the exterior.