This project concerns the renovation and restoration of the former Provincial Safety Institute in the historic city centre of Antwerp.


under construction




6.296 m²




Caroline Arts, Kristina Buzaityte, Silke De Greef, Isis Desmaison, Hanne De Vos, Inês Lourenço, Juliet Plasschaert, Zuzana Pùcha, Ruben Vanvlasselaer, Domien Wuyts

The building will be transformed into a new innovative learning environment for KU Leuven students (Faculties of Arts and Economics and Business Administration). There will be a library with silent workplaces and group workrooms, a meeting area with a cafeteria and a number of classrooms: an auditorium, state of the art language and interpreting labs, a quiet room, and so on.

The building has been included in the Immovable Heritage Inventory since 2019, but despite its high heritage value, it is not protected. However, the building does have a high conservation value due to a number of unique elements such as the concrete structure, the atrium, the glass-roofed ceiling above the atrium, the monumental granite stacked staircase, and so on. The interior spaces will be restored with respect for these authentic elements.

The existing building is an ideal framework for a contemporary learning platform - especially its original fifties design. Its original grandeur will be restored, along with a few valuable interventions - including conforming it to current legislation on accessibility and fire safety.

The main entrance is retained on Jezusstraat, with a limited (pop-up) hospitality area to the side. The main building is located in the middle of the building block and was originally a beautiful atrium, spreading from the ground floor to the third floor. In 1990, it was rebuilt and the opening between the ground and the first floor was closed with a new floor plate. We are removing this again, restoring the building to its original glory.

The original protruding staircase between the ground and the first floor was demolished in the 1990 renovation. We reintroduced it into the new concept, so that its monumental character comes into its own again and a more logical primary circulation is created in the atrium, connecting all floors.

The spacious passerelles, spread over three levels in the atrium, will mainly be filled in with an open library. The central ground floor level is a welcoming encounter area where students can have a lunch, talk, pause and interact with one another. It has a multifunctional character and can be used for events, lectures etc.

The high, open existing spaces in the volume on Kipdorpvest will be preserved as much as possible and will be restored to their original state. They form the ideal context to create valuable, pleasant teaching and study spaces.

As indicated, the building will largely be preserved or returned to its original state. This also applies to the two façades on Jezusstraat and Kipdorpvest, which will be largely restored.

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