Ghent University chooses for the renovation approach of Havana-Wim Cuyvers-Karuur-SEA for Technicum 4

© Havana-Karuur-SEA-Wim Cuyvers (large view)

© Havana-Karuur-SEA-Wim Cuyvers

(22-08-2022) In a few years, the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning will move into building 4 of the Technicum complex, together with the Department of Art History, Musicology and Theatre Studies. It will also accommodate the studio education.

Through an Open Call competition procedure of the Flemish Government Architect, UGent appointed the temporary association Havana architectuur, Karuur architecten, Servais Engineering Architectural and Wim Cuyvers as designers for the renovation. The other four selected teams - with a nice alumni representation from the Ghent engineer-architect program - were:

  • Altstadt, Karamuk Kuo, NWLND Rogiers Vandeputte
  • Flores & Prats, Ouest Architecture
  • murmuur architecten, Marie-José Van Hee architecten
  • OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen.

The jury was impressed with the five proposals submitted (see OO4102). The departments want to highlight the proposals at the university this fall.

Havana-Karuur-SEA-Wim Cuyvers' challenging renovation approach starts from the robust character and the rational structure of the laboratory building from the 1930s, with love for the welded steel frame construction, ceramic tiles, window frames and other details. The building will receive a "major maintenance" before departments and students move in as users and "caretakers". Minimal interventions such as extra stairwells and a new timber tower (T6) make the building functionally future-proof. The energetic renovation takes the embodied carbon of the construction into maximum consideration. For the various parts of the building, separate indoor climates are distinguished, on which usage scenarios are grafted. The decisive factor is to unclutter the large laboratory hall: "it remains free of claims. The partitions disappear, but the overhead cranes remain in operation. What happens there is not permanent but temporary," project weeks, facade tests by the building physics lab, 1:1 scale models, or a theater workshop. "The hall under the sheds provides a usable interface between university and city."