Construction of a joint university building for VUB and ULB begins

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 — The construction of a futuristic and sustainable university building has begun on the campuses of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Etterbeek. The Learning and Innovation Center will offer diverse environments, from individual study rooms to experimentation centres, with high-tech equipment that supports knowledge exchange. Its construction is being managed by Beliris, the public building expert for Brussels. VUB rector Caroline Pauwels and ULB rector Annemie Schaus officially launched the works today, alongside minister Karine Lalieux, whose portfolio covers Beliris.

The Learning and Innovation Center (LIC), designed by evr-architects, A229, Ney & Partners and Arcadis, was conceived as an incubation room for innovation and a networking centre for scientists, experts from industry and civil society organisations. It will be a place where research, exchange and training come together. Thanks to digital tools, visitors will be able to access global knowledge sources and make contacts all over the world.

The building is designed to be entirely progressive. It will employ the latest technologies to support student development and will offer diverse learning environments: quiet rooms for individual study, classrooms for collaborative work, experimentation centres for small group activities and active learning rooms.

Furthermore, it will be a near-zero energy building constructed from sustainable materials and with a compact footprint to reduce heat loss. Sensors will optimise energy consumption.

The LIC will also bridge the two campuses, which are separated by a height difference, bringing together ULB’s Science and Technology library and VUB’s Exact and Applied Sciences library in a symbol of the close collaboration between the two universities.

The building will have eight floors, including a basement and a technical floor on the roof, representing a total area of 9,000 m². It will be able to house 1,000 people, 80% of whom will be students, 10% academic staff and 10% external visitors.

The work is being carried out by construction company Artes Roegiers and is expected to last about 2.5 years.

Quotes



Karine Lalieux, minister of pensions and social integration, responsible for Beliris "Brussels is a rich region with many assets in terms of culture, heritage, art and science. A project such as the LIC is an absolute enrichment for Brussels as a student city and an academic and scientific pole, but also as a place of knowledge and exchange. Beliris is fulfilling its role as an investment vehicle here with verve."



Minister-president Rudi Vervoort "I am delighted with the arrival of this new knowledge centre in our region. The Learning and Innovation Center will be a melting pot of spaces where high-tech equipment supports the exchange of knowledge, and will bring together the libraries of exact and applied sciences. Because of its unique location, this centre will also form a bridge between the VUB and ULB campuses."



Jan Danckaert, rector ad-interim VUB "We are very happy with the start of the construction of the Learning and Innovation Center. Innovation today means that learning goes hand in hand with open collaboration between students, scientists and entrepreneurs. State-of-the-art technology is crucial for this. But it goes further than that: as an international knowledge centre, we want to build bridges together and find solutions for scientific and sociocultural challenges."



Annemie Schaus, rector ULB "The LIC was born out of the desire of our two universities to put up buildings that could integrate the development of our teaching methods by using the latest technology. It is also the symbol and a very concrete element of the interuniversity and intercommunity cooperation ULB-VUB. Thus, bridges will be built: between our two universities, ULB and VUB; between our universities and the challenges of the world around them."



The World Needs You The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig - The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People , because that’s what it-s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership , VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré , the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an -urban engaged university-, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.

www.vub.be/dewereldheeftjenodig

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