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Campus Spoor Noord opens its doors

September 18th, the Artesis Plantijn University College Antwerp (AP) opened its brand new campus Spoor Noord. The iconic building, designed by POLO architects and Jaspers-Eyers in a DBM-project with Interbuild, offers accommodations for 3,500 students in 9 auditoriums and 65 class rooms. VK was in charge of the studies for building services and sustainable design.

These last years, the northern part of Antwerp is on the rise. New projects, focussed in and around Park Spoor Noord, revitalize this city district. After the WDT hangars and the office tower North Star, also with engineering studies by VK, the area now welcomes a new iconic addition: campus Spoor Noord, new accommodations for AP. Actually, it concerns 2 campuses, Spoor Noord I (architects POLO architects and Jaspers-Eyers) and Spoor Noord 2 (architect Stramien), which are interconnected. The eye-catcher however is Spoor Noord I, with its diamond-shaped bearing structure in architectural concrete. VK took care of the studies for building services and contributed to the sustainable approach.

Spoor Noord I houses the departments Health & Wellbeing, and Education & Training. Consequently, the campus disposes of labs for physics, biology, technology and a training kitchen. Moreover, the students can train in a fully developed nursing unit and OR. The needed equipment in these rooms required very specific engineering studies.

Sustainable approach

Another important focus for VK’s engineers lay in the sustainable approach. With regard to hvac, the main challenge was in the varying typology of rooms and their regimes: office spaces with a relatively low rate of occupation, class rooms with a variable rate of occupation, class rooms with high internal heat gains from equipment, auditoriums with a high rate of occupation, cafeteria with a peak moment of occupation … Our engineers performed various analysis to optimally tune thermal comfort to energy consumption.

For example, 40% of the lowered ceilings’ surface has been perforated, to use the thermal mass of the floor slabs. Ventilation of class rooms, auditoriums and cafeteria is demand-driven. In the auditoriums, displacement ventilation with a very low velocity is applied, coming from underneath the seats. Stratification creates a micro-climate per person. During periods with outdoor temperatures of 18°C or below, free cooling is applied. In class rooms with high internal heat gains, static cooling beams have been added.

Heat is principally produced through cogeneration. Two heat pumps operate during the periods with sufficiently high efficiency, with the most common outdoor temperatures. Two condensating boilers operate in case of a deficiency.

Campus Spoor Noord presents Antwerp with an iconic building on a highly visible place, while it offers its students to acquire further qualifications in a state-of-the-art environment.

Watch a movie on YouTube (Dutch, no subtitles) on the opening of the campus.