Arcus College Campus in Heerlen
The new Arcus College Campus in Heerlen, Netherlands, is conceived as a Venetian square with six semi-circular training buildings connected on their first and second ground floor. The ground floor consists of various service and educational functions, linked through open common spaces which provide access to the buildings. For the buildings' façades, Granite® HDX coated steel by ArcelorMittal was used.
The new campus of the Arcus College, a regional provider of vocational training in Limburg, was designed to meet the challenges of contemporary vocational education, anticipating future developments in this field and creating an optimized learning environment for a new generation of students.
Between 3000 and 4000 students are taking courses on the new campus, which offers a total surface of 36.000m2. Due to the nature of the programmes, flexible working spaces and classrooms, modern information and communication technologies and state-of-the-art equipment for in-school trainings and practical simulation were an important requirement for the new building.
Design: Creating unity in diversity
The new Arcus Campus, designed by IAA Architecten, was conceived as a Venetian Square. Six organic shaped buildings, connected on their ground floors below street level, are arranged around two patios separated by a theatre. The architectural concept was a response to the natural conditions of the site: A height difference of 4m between the access street and the actual construction site had to be taken into consideration.
A landscaped platform leads from Valkenburgerweg into the campus and connects the six buildings visually on street level. Towards the centre, a monumental orange structure marks the access to the stairs of the entrance patio which lead down to the ground level where the main entrance to the buildings is located. On this level, the buildings are connected through common spaces like the cafeteria. The patios, two large and two small ones, allow natural light to enter into the ground floors thanks to the mainly glazed façades. The two main patios are separated by a theatre which is entirely enveloped in vertical gardens and brings nature into the building.
Due to its unique design, the campus has a very open character and is tailored to the needs of its users.
Each of the six buildings houses a different educational programme. They vary in shape and in the colour of their window frames, whereas the steel façades and the green roofs provide them with a certain unity. Each building has 2 floors above street level and the common ground floor. The buildings are flooded with natural light as each floor opens up towards the entrance halls that cover the whole building height.
The outdoor area plays a central role on the campus. On the one hand it is a place for the students to meet and exchange, on the other hand it is the connecting element that unites the buildings and converts them into a village.
The façades of all six building are clad with specially designed, profiled steel sheets made of Granite® HDX coated steel, supplied by ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products. Granite® HDX is part of ArcelorMittal's NATURE coating range which is free of harmful substances and therfore complies with the environmental regulations REACH and RoHS. The coating's champagne colour provides the building façades with an elegant and shiny white-golden gloss. In total, 68 tonnes of Granite® HDX coated steel were provided to Jack Muller B.V., a steel service centre specialised in organic coated steel, who converted the coils into sheets. These sheets were processed into trapezoidal profiles and installed under the supervision of ZND Nedicom.
The campus is designed according to the highest requirements of sustainability. An important criteria was not only the durability of the campus and its installations, but also the quest to keep its environmental footprint as low as possible. Therefore, the campus is equipped with thermal panels for the heating of water, water-reuse installation and rain collecting ponds for the irrigation of the green spaces. Floor heating is incorporated into the pre-cast concrete slabs for the winter, in summer natural air ventilation is used to cool the buildings.
The Arcus Campus also benefits from the Minewater Project Heerlen, an essential part of the municipality's Sustainable Energy Structure Plan. It consists in the conversion of the area's old coal mines into a geothermal power station, using the mine waters for the heating and cooling of buildings based on the principle of energy exchange.