2009 - 2019 Gent

Abscis Architecten - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

The Ledeganck complex was erected in 1960 after a design by architect Jules Trenteseau for the faculty of sciences at the university of Gent. The tower has 12 floors and is placed perpendicularly on a plinth where students and researchers enter the building. The tower itself is one of the most striking buildings in Ghent that rises above the 50-meter limit. Ambitious measures regarding safety, environmental legislation, fire evacuation, techniques and laboratory equipment were urged to allow the building to resume its progressive character of the 1960s. A master plan made by Abscis Architecten summarized the measures to be taken when it came to accessibility, flexibility, continuity of use, functional organization and self-orientation.

 

Abscis Architecten - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

photo by Jeroen Verrecht

Abscis Architecten - view from the botanical garden - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

view from the botanical garden - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

The offices and labs are flexibly arranged so that labs can be expanded or converted into offices

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Abscis Architecten - laboratory - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

laboratory - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

The building complex consists mainly of research laboratories, offices and auditoriums. It was stripped in three phases (2010-2020) and refilled with a contemporary lab concept that can grow and shrink according to the needs of the faculty. This requires a modular concept, a clear concept for easy orientation and high-performance facades. The design of the facades was based on two principles: the preservation of the individuality of the building and the replacement of the existing glass façade by a polyvalent pattern of opal and transparent glass plates which allow different functions to be behind it. The vertical aluminium fins also stayed in the design. This modular façade structure emphasizes the scientific function of the building.

Trenteseau's design is a typical product of post-war urbanism: the seemingly random location of the tower building with a plinth as a transition to the surroundings of traditional building blocks. The assignment was defined as ‘ re-use of an existing building complex with a strong urban and architectural presence in the city, into a high-performance university building where students can follow classes in optimal conditions and researchers can carry out their research projects in hypermodern, contemporary and future-oriented laboratories’. We tried to achieve this by numerous interventions into the existing structure. The entire ground floor is upgraded to a ‘public layer’: the space where you enter, where you can meet people meet, spend free time in between classes ... it is an extension of the street, the actual public space. The vertical cores are coloured for clear navigation. The offices and labs are flexibly arranged so that labs can be expanded or converted into offices. The facades also allow this flexibility: a mosaic of enamelled glass plates makes it possible to extend the glass facade over walls and floors, over dark and bright spaces. This gives the building a contemporary look, but with a nod to the past.

Take a look at the timelapse of the renovation of the façade of the tower.

Discover the master plan.

Abscis Architecten - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

photo by Jeroen Verrecht

Abscis Architecten - wayfinding - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

wayfinding - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

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Abscis Architecten - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

photo by Jeroen Verrecht

Abscis Architecten - auditorium - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

auditorium - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

Abscis Architecten - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

photo by Jeroen Verrecht

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Abscis Architecten - view from the ICC - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

view from the ICC - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

Abscis Architecten - view from the soon to be GUM - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

view from the soon to be GUM - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

Abscis Architecten - photo by Jeroen Verrecht

photo by Jeroen Verrecht

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