Text description provided by the architects. The Forum building is the heart of the campus. The campus lacked a decisive image towards its surroundings, as a counterpart to Kortrijk Xpo. At the same time, the campus is defined, but not physically closed off from its environment. This results in an approachable and accessible campus for pedestrians. The aim of the development of the site is to increase the accessibility between Xpo and Campus, to expand the dynamics of the school to the street side and to integrate the campus in its surroundings.
A characteristic of the building is de height difference between the campus and the adjacent site. The development of the plot should therefore not only take place on an architectural level, but also on an urban development level. The organization of the functions on the site therefore takes place on two levels: the commercial spaces on the ground floor (street level) and the school functions on the 2 floors (campus level). By literally extending the campus platform around the new building volume, a floating platform is created. The platform forms a clear and logical separation between public and semi-public (outdoor) spaces, between retail and school functions.
The floating platform serves as a catalyst for the whole site. It structures, defines and organizes the pedestrian flows on the campus. The square, created on the first floor, can be used as a terrace for the polyvalent space as well as for other activities. Large holes in the floating platform and a wide external staircase connect the covered outdoor area with the multifunctional square and lead the pedestrians to the school campus. This multipurpose space with professional kitchen is therefore a vital link in the design.
Characteristic and decisive for the project is the intelligent supporting structure of the building. The starting point was to create a building with large, open and flexible classifiable spaces. Within this context the building is conceived as a literal stacking of open spaces, defined by horizontal concrete slabs that are separated by columns. The floor slab above the first floor and the roof slab are supported and carried by a system of steel trusses. A duplex floor in the form of a beam-shaped volume in reinforced concrete is suspended on the inside between the trusses. A central concrete core with elevators, stairs and shafts guarantees the stability of the building.