Soon, VIVES students will not only be able to attend classes at the University of Applied Sciences in Bruges; they’ll also be able to live there. In partnership with project developer ION, VIVES is constructing a brand new complex comprising 19 classrooms and 138 student rooms that will connect seamlessly to the existing campus. As a consequence, VIVES City will become the first fully-fledged ‘residential campus’ in Flanders. The university intends to place a strong emphasis on student experience, with a student café, sports hall and paddle and tennis courts all within walking distance. A new campus cycle path will meanwhile provide a fast and safe link to the station and Bruges city centre. The aim is to complete the VIVES City project by September 2022. VIVES students, together with Bruges Mayor, Dirk De fauw, Spatial Planning Alderman, Franky Demon, the VIVES management team, ION and the project’s architects, will today (10 May, 2021) lay the official foundation stone.
VIVES University of Applied Sciences in West Flanders has expanded its world-class course offering in recent years, a development which has translated into an annual growth in student numbers. To meet this growth, the University of Applied Sciences is investing an impressive 20 million euros in VIVES City, an extension of the existing campus that’s situated between Expresweg and Xaverianenstraat in Bruges. The new building will boast an iconic circular form, alternating heights and an exciting mix of functions that reinforce a genuine campus vibe throughout the building. Classrooms will be located on the Xaverianenstraat side of the complex, together with relaxation areas, a foyer, a food corner and sanitation facilities. The students’ residential accommodation will be situated to the rear of the building, where it will provide the necessary peace and tranquillity, and views of the campus grounds. The students will also be able to rustle up their own meals in the spacious, communal kitchens (complete with homely living areas) that will be provided on each floor. All of the various functions will converge around a large central courtyard, fostering a highly stimulating dynamic. A footpath will also run directly through the building, creating a powerful link to the other campus functions.
VIVES attaches huge importance to high-quality, liveable campuses. After all, learning and working environments are an increasingly important consideration for students and staff when choosing a university. This new-build project is expected to further enhance the campus experience.
“We wish to develop a fully-fledged campus with high user satisfaction levels. Students will not only attend classes on campus; they’ll also live there. It’s therefore essential that we provide the requisite facilities. For example, students will be able to take advantage of the multifunctional sports complex on the opposite side of Xaverianenstraat, where, amongst other things, they can enjoy a round of tennis or play a game of paddle. We also attach significant importance to the campus’ integration within the city. Which is why we’re constructing a cycle path that will quickly and safely connect the campus to the station and city centre.” VIVES General Director, Joris Hindryckx.
Bruges has been a popular student city for some time now. Indeed, the number of new students is growing year-on-year. The city of Bruges is therefore delighted with the VIVES City project.
“Bruges is currently home to more than 9,000 students and that number is growing exponentially. Our city boasts no fewer than six higher education institutions within its municipal boundaries. Young people consciously choose for Bruges due to its first-class education offering. However, a pleasant learning environment is also becoming an increasingly important factor. We therefore welcome VIVES' decision to heavily invest in student quality of life at the Xaverianenstraat campus.” Mayor of Bruges, Dirk De fauw.
“This project will create a top-notch, inter-connected campus offering a variety of functions on a single site. The existing VIVES building, where classes are conducted, is located on Expresweg, with the Stuvo building housing a number of student facilities next to it. The new multifunctional building will supplement the existing premises. Both buildings will be connected via an interspace that will provide parking and green relaxation areas for the students. The new building will complement the street line and seamlessly align to the rest of the site in terms of functionality. VIVES City is a fantastic project that will provide students with everything they need during their study years on one single site. And it will place Bruges even more firmly on the map as a student city as a consequence.” Bruges Spatial Planning Alderman, Franky Demon.
Terraced courtyard garden
VIVES City will also feature a 30-metre-long, terraced courtyard garden. The plants will be arranged in semicircles and alternated with lawned areas. The garden will also benefit from seating areas, where the students can congregate. Lastly, the new building will additionally incorporate a bicycle shed that will be exclusively reserved for residential students.
“VIVES City will be the first genuine ‘residential campus’ in Flanders. The new building will be embedded within a green environment that provides a comprehensive range of student facilities. The circular building will not only house 19 additional classrooms, but also 138 student rooms. Students at VIVES City will therefore be able to attend classes immediately adjacent to their living accommodation.” ION CEO & co-founder, Kristof Vanfleteren.
The iconic new building was designed by Salens Architecten in Bruges. It’s intended to form a link between the local area, the Xaverianen multifunctional complex and the other campus buildings.
“The building, which is characterised by its circular form and green courtyard garden, creates a secure environment, yet simultaneously exudes a high degree of openness towards the local surroundings via a number of thoughtful openings in the design. This project is more than just a building; it’s an urban development project that unites the various university functions and reinforces the campus vibe.” Salens Architecten manager-architect, Olivier Salens.
Expansive 18 m² mural
An eye-catching feature: ION and VIVES called on the talents of Bruges graffiti artist, Jamz (Jeremiah Persyn), for the decoration of the construction site fencing around the main building. He’ll use his spray paints to create an eye-catching mural measuring 3 by 6 metres, with the campus students, VIVES and Bruges as central themes. The mural will be encompassed by photos depicting artworks by students from the Bachelor Degree in Secondary Education Programme (Arts project). Once the VIVES City project is complete, the mural will be relocated to the facade of student café De Krachtbar.
The environmental works are presently underway and the contractor plans to commence construction works this week. The aim is to complete the project by the start of the 2022-2023 academic year.