Gallait Campus Schaarbeek
new secondary school, teenage school, elementary school and youth centre
Given the enormous lack of capacity in the Brussels-Capital Region, the Flemish Community Commission (VGC) commits itself to building new campuses for Dutch-speaking education. The new campus, which is being developed on the Gallait site in Schaerbeek, will house a nursery school, a primary school, a middle school, a secondary school and a youth centre. The winning design by POLO Architects is the result of intensive research and dialogues between the architect, the client and the end users.
Driven by the goal of creating a small-scale character school campus in a green environment, the design is centered around the kasba model. This implies that several smaller buildings are developed, connected to each other through diverse green outdoor spaces.
The project’s small-scale character is achieved by the construction of pavilions; the cluster of schools consists of a series of different buildings with a distinct recognisable typology. The design is structured around one obvious gesture; a long corridor offering access to the various buildings, making it the backbone of the site.
The entrance building on Gallaitstraat will be the face of the school campus. That is why it provides a spacious and inviting passage welcoming visitors up a gentle slope. This passage is an open gateway between the school and its surroundings.
DIVERSITY AND INTEGRATION
The desiging principle is to create a unique learning environment centered around diversity and integration. Diversity transpires in the wide variety of spatial experiences: various buildings in different sizes, green or paved public areas, social or intimate spaces. Integration manifests itself by intertwining common functionalities all over the campus as well as the special attention paid to the transitions between indoor and outdoor areas.
"Furthermore, the design has firmly opted for the modern concept of comprehensive education, according to which several schools are grouped in one location and pupils of all ages bond with each other. That is why the campus will house a nursery school, a primary school, a middle school, a secondary school and common areas such as sports facilities, a dining hall, a science lab, etc. The youth centre is the capstone of this comprehensive school project." – Patrick Lootens, founding partner POLO Architects
VILLAGE WITHIN THE CITY
The different buildings facing the street are constructed in the same material, creating a uniform facade. The buildings feature prominently in the streetscape, but their mineral colours and textures allow them to blend into the surrounding urban landscape. Coloured glass panels create an extraordinary play of light and give each of the buildings their own separate identity.
The campus has been conceived as a ‘village within the city’, opening up to the neighbourhood. The children develop as members of a larger community while the neighbours are invited to become a part of the school community.
images: POLO Architects
Gallaitstraat / Vanderlindenstraat, Schaarbeek
Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie (VGC)
TV: POLO Architects - Odebrecht - Vanhout Projects
winning competition design