Sustainable new building on Campus Heymans houses practicals, DoCoLab and the department of Medicinal Chemistry

foto Anneke D'hollander (large view)

foto Anneke D'hollander

(01-06-2021) The first completed link of an extensive construction and renovation chain on the Campuses Heymans and UZ Gent increases the interaction between the faculties involved, and offers modern education and research infrastructure.

For students, teachers, researchers and staff members

In considering which needs had to and could be met by a new building on Campus Heymans, 2 important elements were put forward:

  • Quality education: a need for modern and high-performance lab rooms for the programs in the faculties of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicine and Health Sciences, to replace outdated infrastructure
  • High-quality research: a relocation of UGent research groups that would present itself for various reasons anyway offered the opportunity to facilitate them in new, sustainably built spaces

foto Anneke D'hollanderThe faculties of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicine and Health Sciences both make use of the various new and modernly furnished practical rooms, which can provide education for groups of 20 to 100 students in normal occupancy. The lab room for 100 students thus joins the rooms on Campus Ledeganck and Campus Sterre as the largest lab rooms at Ghent University.

In addition to the practical facilities, the new building also houses the labs and workspaces forfoto Anneke D'hollander the DoCoLab, the Ghent expertise center for doping (20 employees) that comes over from Tech Lane Ghent Science Park in Zwijnaarde, and the Medicinal Chemistry department (20 employees) that is moving from the high-rise building on the Heymans Campus.

What a difference … until recently we worked in the same facilities as the ones I myself got to know forty years ago, as a new student, despite more than doubling the number of students. This new building radically changes the look and feel of the campus, which has become much more inviting, but above all allows for quality practical education, including via a practice pharmacy, and research. I am proud of the achievement and the architectural accents that, to me, represent the dynamics of the campus and the faculty. (Dean Jan Van Bocxlaer, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences)

Important for several reasons

Campus Heymans is a campus where there is always a lot of activity, but since the 1970s there has been little movement in the architectural field. This applies not only to the building used by the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, but also to the nearby student housing in Home Boudewijn and some buildings of Campus UZ Gent, across the Corneel Heymanslaan.

This new building is the first important link in the evolution that Ghent University foresees for these sites in the coming years:

  • Block B on Campus UZ Gent will be demolished and make way for a new building
  • The high-rise building on Campus Heymans will be refurbished and the existing but very outdated lab building will be demolished in due course to make way for a possible future development.
  • A new building for student housing will be added, and Home Boudewijn will be renovated.
This building is a new landmark along the Corneel Heymanslaan. I see it as a first step in the major master plan that will be realized on campus UZ and Campus Heymans in the coming decade and that will make Corneel Heymanslaan a crossroads for education, research and innovation in healthcare. (Dean Piet Hoebeke, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences)

The building also illustrates the commitment to sustainability. Despite the many techniques, cabinets, labs with specific infrastructure, ... they have nevertheless succeeded in building an almost energy-neutral building.

Rainwater is recovered as much as possible and the excess water infiltrates on site into a wadi. Much of the road around the campus has been softened and designed as a high-quality green space.

In addition, the new building is also a good illustration of the commitment to interaction between and common use of space of the faculties of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicine and Health Sciences. It is a building with interchangeable facilities.

Smooth construction period, despite the pandemic

In 2013, the order for a new building on Campus Heymans was initiated by Ghent University. Project leader Christophe Tuypens set to work together with his colleagues from the Buildings and Facility Management Department, the architectural firm Modulo Architects, the engineering firm ISTEMA, and contractors Algemene Bouw Maes and EEG (a temporary trade association). Potteau Labo supplied the lab furniture for the practicals and the laboratories.

Construction started in September 2018, and the completion of the new building was only delayed by a few months due to the corona pandemic. This was planned for May 2020, and could be realized in October 2020.