Adrien Maerschalck

Adrien Maerschalck

From the City to the School. ULg Liège (Belgium)

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Faced with the constant population growth, the city of Saive has invested in the military barracks site abandoned since 2011 and asked us to think the city development with the creation of a new "urban center".

The masterplan was designed as a sustainable and evolutionary project. The aim was to bring life back between the barracks, which were highly enclosed, and the city. Thus, it was chosen to develop first the main axis between the two squares along Haute Saive Street to meet initial objectives. Furthermore, it doesn’t consume whole site immediately and it leaves building lands to respond to current and future needs.

Knowing that the existing primary school has to move to the new site, it was chosen to design the new one in the city heart. A symbolic commitment which aims to see education as a key issue of urban development.

The whole site was thought as an architectural promenade which offers different public spaces to users rather than to cars, all accessible by disabled people. A way to bring life back and to create encounter spaces for the city. But the height difference between the barracks and the street was the main constraint. Therefore, all functions needing huge space like the sports hall, the refectory… were gathered to build a "structural wall", creating different outdoor spaces and bringing light back.

The school architecture is oriented on the porosity between masses and voids where living and sharing spaces are created. Even if the building provides a feeling of enclosure to ensure children's safety and life centered on recreational areas, different connections are created with outside. The notion of framing and openness is dominant.

The project focus on improving learning by different activity and encounter spaces and try to bring happiness back at school.

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