By the beginning of the next decade, the ULB and the VUB will have a joint centre for learning and innovation available. This will be at the heart of the Campus de la Plaine, in Ixelles.
The centre will group together the Science and Technological libraries at the ULB and Pure and Applied Sciences of the VUB. It will be a hotbed of innovation, open to advanced technologies and the development of learning methods.
The rectors of ULB, Yvon Englert, and VUB, Caroline Pauwels, who did the presentation for this, on Tuesday, along with the two architects offices responsible for giving it a concrete form, and the Vice-Prime Minister, Didier Reynders, in charge of Beliris, were all extremely positive. They said that the project has the ambition to strengthen the international attractiveness of this university centre, as regards research and innovation.
Didier Reynders says that Beliris has, up to now, injected €2.1 million into the preliminary study phase. It will have to pay for its practical implementation (€21 million euros, including VAT). According to current predictions, the planning permission application should be lodged by 2018. Building works should start in 2020. Construction should last two years.
The architects collaborating on this project, A229 and EVR Architectes have conceived a passive building, with an open design, that will be accessed via an amphitheatre. The amphitheatre is located at the intersection of the main axis of the ULB and the VUB campuses on the La Plaine site.
Inside, the 10,000 metre-square area will be configured in such a way that you move from the most public to the most private areas of the building, and from the most noisy to the calmest areas, as you progress through the seven storeys of the entire building. The centre will be able to accommodate 1,000 people at any one time, by giving them access in turn to individual study areas, collaborative spaces, indeed to experimentation areas, for given group activities.
According to Yvon Englert, the project also aims to return researchers to libraries and to reach out to university partners as regards innovation. However there is also a genuine desire to develop other potential partnerships.