Almost 600 years of history, tens of thousands of students and staff, and a tremendous social significance—it’s no wonder the KU Leuven has clear ideas, even when it comes to building. When we won the contract for O&N5, a new education and research building for the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, the university knew exactly what it wanted. Their vision turned out to be an excellent starting point for us.
The 23,600 m²+ complex, which consists of two building volumes, had to provide maximum space for high-quality biomedical research. This included laboratories, offices, meeting rooms and an auditorium. The functional cross-section of the building had already been determined. Research and all the necessary facilities for carrying it out were leading factors in the design, and thus our primary point of focus. We embraced this no-nonsense approach and took it to the extreme.
We decided to go all the way to the core and eliminate all the “obstacles” in the basic design. We positioned all staircases on the outside of the buildings so that there was even less spatial distraction and even more room for labs. The installation concept was non-standard as well: the necessary compressed air piping, cabling and connection points were installed in a ring around the buildings. The result is no-nonsense squared—and all clients are very satisfied. Together with our partner, LOW Architects, we realized everything within budget.