The Media, Arts & Design Faculty is part of C-Mine , a new educational and cultural cluster on a former coal mine. From day one the project took in account the programme and the specific qualities of its context: a limited budget, a new teaching concept, the obligation to build on an existing underground parking and the strong presence of the surrounding industrial heritage. Foremost it aims to stimulate creativity and innovation: the circulation areas become part of the didactic environment and create an open study-landscape, interactive space for meeting, study, social contact and exchange of ideas.
The façade, in perforated galvanized steel, not only refers to the molecular structure of coal, but simultaneously engages a dialogue with the historical elevator towers of the coal mine. Notwithstanding a rough industrial materiality, the building is not hard: the translucent façade almost has the subtle and soft appearance of lace. Apart from that it acts as a solar screen and a privacy buffer. Only the windows of the study-landscape are not covered by the steel skin, so that the spatially binding element of the project is being expressed in the façade.
Inside the building the industrial architectural language is visible as well. The concrete structure and all the electrical, mechanical and technical equipment remain apparent. This human based low tech allows a flexible adaptability of the infrastructure and programmatic layout of the school. Only light transparent structures in polycarbonate or nets act as space dividers that have a minimal presence and provide spatial continuity. This way the design of the building expresses the mission statement of the school and becomes a genuine creative teaching and learning factory .
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