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Special School, Ghent, conversion, evr architecten

Minimum interventions: Special School in Ghent

The neo-Gothic building, built in 1873, forms the centre of a school ensemble and is preserved in its original form. The 2016 conversion project included the restoration and energetic refurbishment of the existing building, the dismantling of its former functions, and the addition of minimum extensions and insertions.

The most striking transformation is visible in the courtyard. The plaza, which was built over in the 70s with a canteen, has been cleared and is now divided diagonally into two areas. A trapezoidal auditorium with a sloping roof breaks with the symmetries of the building and provides a central orientation point. The remainder of this space is once again a garden and source of illumination for the ground floor rooms. In addition to the existing passageway, the courtyard now has a second generous opening on the opposite side. These double-sided access points have made it possible to create a central route through the courtyard as well as through the entire complex, which should improve the interaction between the school’s various facilities.

From the courtyard a staircase leads to the first floor over the roof of the auditorium, which is designed as part terrace and part green roof. In order to acquire more space for classrooms, the courtyard-side access corridor on the upper floors in the North Wing has been relocated to a fully glazed gallery (A), which establishes a strong connection with the inner courtyard.

The students’ special requirements demanded a generously sized and versatile way-finding system. Autonomous facilities connected with washrooms and storage rooms have been developed for autistic students.

Kurze Werbepause

Special School, Ghent, conversion, evr architecten

Photos: Stadsarchief Gent

The neo-Gothic building, built in 1873, was a Convent of the Sisters of Charity .The building at that time also was used to educate deaf and blind children.

Special School, Ghent, conversion, evr architecten

Photos: Courtesy of evr architecten

Over the decades the structure was converted and therefore also modified several times. Many of its original architectural qualities had been lost. In the years before the renovation only some parts of the building were used, as a training facilities where young adults get educated for nursing.

Special School, Ghent, conversion, evr architecten

Photos no. 1-3 first row and second row: Courtesy of evr architecten

Photos no. 4 first row and second row: Stijn Bollaert

The plaza, which was built over in the 70s with a canteen, has been cleared and is once again a garden and source of illumination for the ground floor rooms.

Special School, Ghent, conversion, evr architecten

Photos no. 1-5: Courtesy of evr architecten

Photo on the right: Stijn Bollaert

In addition to the existing passageway, the courtyard now has a second generous opening on the opposite side.

Special School, Ghent, conversion, evr architecten

Photos on the left and in the middle: Stijn Bollaert

Photos top right and down right: Courtesy of evr architecten

At one time the monastery chapel filled the entire height of the building. As it was no longer in use it had been divided into three floors. The architects removed the upper floor and restored the balcony.

Further information:

Team: Jan Van Den Broeke, Niels Baeck, Manu Heytens, Mathieu Verougstraete, Lore Perneel, Michiel Weekers with Callebaut Architecten, ­Drongen (BE) callebaut-architecten.be, Team: Wouter Callebaut, ­Nicholas Matthijs
Project architect: Niels Baeck
General contractor: vanlaere.be
Interior fittings and furniture: planofurn.be

A detailed print documentation concerning the topic "Playing and Learning" is available in our issue DETAIL inside 1/2018.

This article is taken out of the following magazine:
INSIDE I1/2018
DETAIL inside 1/2018

Inside 1/2018

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