Cadix Va Street

Campus Cadix VVA

Van Averbeke's new campus

The monumental school ensemble designed by former city architect Emiel Van Averbeke was built between 1921 and 1925. The large building complex is conceived as a representative palace-like structure with three courtyards and clearly designed hierarchies. In the original design, both style preferences and explicit views on education played a role. In an eclectic composition, we find different façade compositions, floorplan types, roof shapes and very different inner courtyards side by side. 

The pedagogical concept of the building as an institute consisting of different departments with distinct pedagogical aims and the stylistic development of architecture between 1900 and 1930 run parallel, creating a building complex that simultaneously refers to the architecture of The English House from the turn of the century as well as to the progressive architecture of Berlage and his followers. The eclectic architectural language positions the entire school at a significant cultural distance from the architectural character of its direct surroundings, the port area of the 'Eilandje' with its industrial hangars and working-class housing.

location:Cadixwijk, Antwerp
construction:from 2017
competition:1st prize, Open Oproep n.1726, in collaboration with Hildundk, Munich
client:Scholen Van Morgen / SO Antwerpen
structural engineer:ABT
advisor - technical installations:RCR Herent
advisor - restoration:Callebaut Architecten, Ghent
advisor - design interior gardens:Atelier Arne Deruyter
Cadix Intro Axo Va
Cadix Va Old Pic
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Cadix Va Diagram Demolition
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The building complex was originally designed for three separate schools: the school for boys, the school for girls and the kindergarten. Despite their apparent uniformity, the kindergarten and the two schools present fundamental typological, programmatic and architectural differences. 

The schools for the older children consist of two buildings each: a functionalist building block containing uniform classrooms at the east side of the plot and a building block facing the square to the west, containing all special rooms such as the gym, an auditorium and various specifically shaped classrooms. The walled courtyards in between connect the buildings; an iron pergola lining the courtyards on the ground floor gives acces to an outdoor toilet block. 

The central kindergarten has been conceived as a monastic settlement with a green, playful garden at its very centre surrounded by a glazed cloister.

Cadix Va Old Entrance
Cadix Va Old Bikes
Cadix Va Old Courtyard
Cadix Va Old Garden Facade
Cadix Va Old Garden
Cadix Va Old Historic Corrdior
Cadix Va Old Classroom
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Cadix Va Old Attics Painting
current situation
Cadix Va Plan GF
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Cadix Va Garden1

To soften the harsh original character of the former primary schools our interventions aim at the improvement of the spatial quality of the northern and southern courtyard. The central courtyard, with its monastic purity, remains untouched and forms the heart of a "historic parcours", a designated area on the ground floor of the school where we preserve and even reconstruct the building's original character. 

As the new program requires additional spaces our ambition is to enhance the relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces with our extension. We therefore add two volumes in both outer courtyards. In the northern courtyard, the additional volume contains multifunctional spaces and a generous entrance hall. In the southern courtyard, a similar building volume contains the rooms for the hairdstylists. Both new building volumes are light timber structures with cantilevering roofs with open facades facing the courtyards. The architecture of the new building volumes, with its slender steel columns, refers to the original pergolas. The roof is partly designed as an accessible terrace.

Cadix Va Garden
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The plans for the restoration, refurbishment and extension of the school group were developed in close contact with the building heritage agency of the province of Antwerp. The planned interventions are based on a thorough analysis and valuation of the existing architecture.

Cadix Va Palette Tile
Cadix Va Gang Garden

In the interior we restore the most important spaces carefully and in detail, especially the cloister around the central courtyard, the staircases and the corridors. The interior of the various classrooms will be adapted to current technical requirements with respect to the original design.

Cadix Va Palette
Cadix Va Wall
Cadix Va Palette Stair
Cadix Va Palette Door
Cadix Va Section Long Pavillion
Cadix Va Section Long Classroom
Cadix Va Section Short Pavillion1
Cadix Va Section Short Pavillion

Wherever necessary we restore or replace original elements with high-quality elements crafted according to the original design. This applies in particular to the treatment of the roofing, the façades and the window frames and to the collective spaces in the interior (hallways, stairwells, auditorium, courtyards). The  current metal roofing will be replaced by ceramic tiles, according to the original intentions of the architect.

Cadix Va Corridor Staircase
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In order to meet the technical, spatial and atmospheric needs of the school, new staircases and lifts are added in the front building (blocks D and F) and in the rear building (blocks A and C). In addition, the northern and southern courtyards are made accessible to both the fire department and wheelchairs.

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Cadix Va Class Pink1
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