Paleizenstraat 153 - 1030 Brussels
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Spatial development plan for the VUB Campus

Location :
Etterbeek, Brussels
Client :
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Surface :
240.000 m2
Team :
AgwA + endeavour
Planning :
Category :
Universities brim with knowledge that can be put to use on their own campus sites, as continuously evolving Living Labs. This is particularly possible in the case of the VUB Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus.

The spatial development plan therefore doesn’t act as a masterplan that blindly sets rules from a top-down point of view in a specific moment in time, but rather functions as an instrument that seeks to render tangible the potentials of the existing situation – and its users. Regardless of its size, every new project on the site from today onwards is not an isolated project but will contribute to the improvement of spatial and programmatic qualities.

A framework consisting of three themes defines the priority qualities of the site:
Firstly, the park that today finds its place between the built infrastructure, comes to the foreground and is reinforced as a public structure of metropolitan scale that brings together all other functions - and absorbs different purposes as well, be it scientific, ecological, recreational, or other.

Secondly, reuse of space is encouraged while visible programs activate the ground floors throughout the campus and create lively plinths. These functions consolidate the campus as an important urban actor that influences the dynamics of the neighbourhoods surrounding the campus. Reversely, from the city’s perspective, the open campus gets a clear image and address.

Thirdly, a porous border interacts with the neighbourhood and is the starting point of a redefined circulation network, to improve the readability, safety and efficiency of the campus mobility.

This framework is supplemented with a set of more flexible strategies that leave space to cater to the demands of a continuously and rapidly evolving university. The research by design project was developed and nurtured with the input of several thematic workshops with a multitude of VUB users and external actors.