De Vesten Student Accommodation Leuven
New student residence University of Leuven - Arenberg Campus
The student homes are located on a triangular plot at the edge of Arenberg Park, just outside the Leuven ring road. The complex consists of three wings organised around an open courtyard. With this project, POLO revisits the living concept of traditional student accommodations.
A DIFFERENT LOGIC
The construction of student accommodation is typically dictated by a strict economic logic. More often than not, in order to cut construction costs, this type of building consists of compact and efficient units divided into individual rooms on either side of a corridor. This method minimises the outer shell surface. The drawback, however, is that corridors merely serve as a functional circulation space without any added residential qualities. In this project, the student homes follow a different logic. The corridor is situated in the periphery, along the building's glass facade.
In order to obtain a compact volume and to limit the outer shell surface, the room modules become more narrow, but deeper. The student rooms are the elementary building blocks of this project. The repetitive use of identical modules gives the project a rational structure.
THE BUILDING AS A HUSK
The exterior presents itself as a sturdy, relatively closed brick structure, whereas the facades facing the courtyard are made of glass and coloured panels.
"The building is like a husk: hard on the outside, but soft on the inside." – Mauro Poponcini, founding partner POLO Architects
The narrowest student rooms are all situated along the hard side of the building and contain a large window overlooking the park.
The peripheral corridor on the building's soft side is bathed in natural daylight and affords open views of any activity taking place in the communal garden. The corridor is a pleasant, communal living space - a kind of extension of the private rooms - where students can run into each other and have a chat. Moreover, the corridor is extended into an outdoor walkway running along the entire length of the building. This walkway serves as a circulation space between the various wings as well as a communal terrace for the students. As it is connected with two monumental outdoor staircases, it also serves as a large 'entrance hall' through which students can reach their rooms.
fotografie: Stijn Bollaert
TV: POLO Architects - IRS - Grontmij A'prom
winning competition design