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van Heyningen & Haward completes first overseas project in Belgium

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The building for College O-L-V-ten-Doorn stitches together a large campus

van Heyningen & Haward Architects (vHH) has completed its first project outside of the UK, which opened recently to students. The College O-L-V-ten-Doorn is an unusually large school in the small town of Eeklo in West Flanders, Belgium, which has junior, middle and upper schools, both vocational and academic. 

The design is the result of a well-run competitive process between four architect-led teams from the programme framework. vHH teamed up with SMAK Architects to submit a dossier for the ‘Schools of Tomorrow’ framework, and won this competition with the practice in 2012. 

The competition-winning proposal took an urban design and landscape approach, combining the newbuild facilities to create an arrival square facing the town, and a generous quad in the heart of the former vocational schools. The sports hall is lifted to create the entrance portal to the school, with the open learning areas below, which can also be used by the local community. At the other end of the site, extensive landscape works create dedicated arrival spaces and parking that enhances the heavily refurbished building for the middle school. The landscape works increase the connections between all parts of the campus, transforming the school’s external routes and spaces.

(c) toon grobet (3)

(c) toon grobet (3)

Source: Toon Grobet

Client’s view

The project involves more than 10,000m² and three phases. The Schools of Tomorrow programme comprises a need for detailed documentation throughout all the different design phases, and we must say vHH handled this new way of working smoothly, within an international context and team. As delegated developer for this project, we are pleased to see that not only our needs, but especially those of the school, are being fulfilled. The façade of the sports hall might be the most original, the most impressive of our entire programme (which encompasses 182 school building projects). The play of light on the cassettes is simply great to see.

Philippe Monserez, chief design and build officer, AG Real Estate and programme director, Schools of Tomorrow

(c) toon grobet (9)

(c) toon grobet (9)

Source: Toon Grobet

Project data 

Start on site November 2015
Completion June 2017
Gross internal floor area 4,593m²
Form of contract or procurement route Schools of Tomorrow programme
Construction cost €6.72 million (including landscape and FFE)
Construction cost per m2
 €1473 (including landscape and FFE)
Architect van Heyningen & Haward Architects
Client College O-L-V-Ten Doorn
Structural engineer Delta Consulting
M&E consultant TECON group
Quantity surveyor Bureau Bouwtechniek
Project manager AG Real Estate
CDM co-ordinator
 Dirk de Groof
Approved building inspector Vinncotte
Main contractor Joint-venture Strabag Belgium and Ed.Zublin
CAD software used Revit (architecture and structure) CAD (for M&E)

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