Economics Building, University of Ghent
The central university campus site stretches over 800 metres along the Schelde River on its lower side and along a higher situated, sloping street on the other side. It is situated inside the city and it profits from a dazzling topography.
The campus mainly houses old textile industry buildings and a few 70s concrete buildings. Several new programmes are to be added and a new coherence is introduced by retracing a historical path as a semi-public connection. It links all the buildings and a series of gardens, squares and an existing roof surface. The succession of open spaces and newly inserted buildings intends to open up the campus towards the city and to reveal the exciting spatial relation to the river.
The sequence starts with the rectory square around which are gathered old and new administration buildings, with their entrances on different levels. One of them is the new multipurpose building that stretches along the main street. On the side of the rectory square an outside stair leads up to the main foyer level; its main entrance is on the other end and one level up, where it matches the students square.
Along a sunken bicycle parking the path leads behind a students restaurant, which is to be reorganised and extended. Then it runs along existing buildings (among them is a students club) and gardens, and behind a row of private houses towards the Faculty of Economics building. It runs through existing terraces and over a roof on top of this main building, to end up across the new Economics Building at the end of the campus and in front of a Baroque church.
The campus path that crosses the building, the topography, the nearby existing Economics Building, and the new programme together generate the form of the building.