News: Portuguese brothers Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus have won a competition to design a new school of architecture in the Belgian city of Tournai, with plans for a complex featuring a house-shaped entrance void.
Lisbon-based Aires Mateus saw off competition from Belgian studio Robbrecht & Daem and French firm Lacaton & Vassal to win the commission to create a 7000-square-metre architecture faculty for 600 students at the Catholic University of Louvain.
Located within the city's historic quarter, the project will involve renovating an eighteenth-century hospital to accommodate administrative services as well as converting two industrial buildings to create space for classrooms and a library.
The architects also plan to demolish some existing buildings, making room for a tree-lined courtyard and a new structure that will serve as the spine of the complex.
Weaving between the renovated blocks, the new building will link different departments and provide a distinctive entrance. According to the architects, it will make contact with the existing brick volumes in as few places as possible.
"The design evokes the existing iconography in the architectural heritage of Tournai," said the architects.
"Its geometry causes various urban plazas and produces a large interior space which will house all academic activities, as well as establishing a close collaboration with the community," they added.
Work is set to begin on the project later this year and students are expected to start occupying the facility in 2015.
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