Ghent University recently submitted an application for an environmental permit for the commencement of the first phase of the work, the construction of a new dormitory. The construction of the dormitory requires a reorganization and redesign of the green areas on the UGent campus.
The campus of the future
Campus Heymans, located between Ottergemsesteenweg and Corneel Heymanslaan, currently houses Home Boudewijn and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Most of the buildings on campus are from the 1960s. The oldest buildings need modernization in terms of location, features and appearance.
In a first phase, Ghent University is planning a new dormitory on the northern edge of campus. In 2026, the campus will look completely different. Smaller detached buildings will also be demolished and paved areas will be softened up. From 2028, the university will also examine the faculty zone intended for education and research. Ghent University also secures unity with the planned new hospital building and the green campus of UZ Ghent, on the other side of Corneel Heymanslaan.
Affordable student rooms
With the construction of the new dormitory, Ghent University wants to play a role in the urgent and current problem of student housing.
For less affluent students, an affordable room can make the difference between being able to study or not. But there are simply too few today. So we do not want to attract more students with a new home; we want to meet them better and cheaper in a way that also spares the ordinary housing market. We see that students still turn to unregulated student housing and thus occupy family housing. Ghent University therefore chooses to integrate high-quality but affordable student housing in its renovation projects and in the renovation of its campuses. We want sustainable campuses where you can learn, live, work and study.
Rector Rik Van de Walle.
A new housing concept in a climate-neutral building
The new home will have 300 wheelchair-friendly rooms and will be climate-neutral thanks to, among other things, circular water consumption and solar energy. The home is built entirely around a courtyard of 1,280 m² with an acoustically quiet outer shell. The building will therefore look completely different from a classic home. For example, all communal and public functions and balconies are located around the courtyard, on the inside of the building. Finally, the rhythmic, slightly mysterious facade will contribute to an interesting street scene.
The construction of the dormitory requires a reorganization and redesign of the green areas on the UGent campus. Most trees will disappear in the western part of the place. It is about 2700 m², an area of less than half the size of a football field. Nevertheless, after the renovation work, a third of Ghent University’s campus will consist of about 14,500 m of green space. In the northern edge of the UGent site, a 3000 m² green buffer is added to soften the transition from campus to the neighboring residential area. Part of the trees on the west side will also be preserved and will be included in the home’s courtyard. The area around the new dormitory and the zone between the new home and the existing Home Boudewijn are laid out with great attention to greenery. The ecologically valuable green zone at the roundabout on the south side of the site will be fully preserved, and Ghent University will also make Vossenpark available to the neighborhood. These two green zones will not be developed by Ghent University in the future.
The trees on the west side are now very insulated. Instead of trying to save every tree, we looked at how to move toward a well-landscaped, well-informed, well-integrated and sustainable green campus. We go for a long-term history and we also dare to make difficult choices. So yes, trees will disappear. But 30% of the future Heymans Campus, about 14,500 m², will consist of green. Part of it – Vossenparken – is also shared with the neighborhood.
Rector Rik Van de Walle.
Press service WEEK
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