The former ‘OLV Collegium’, dating from 19th century, is situated in the historical center of Zottegem and was purchased by developer, Vanhout, in 2017. SFA was selected to design the masterplan for a new residential project and a public underground parking for the city. SFA’s ambition was to enhance the community’s sense of belonging in relation to the site.
The new design provides a cluster of buildings that form a large green courtyard around the former collegium. A strong connection between the busiest shopping street and the new project creates a serene atmosphere to pass through to the other side of the city, while giving access to the public underground parking.
This project strives to set an example of sustainability over time. The configuration of the project has been designed to provide a sustainable system, transcending technological solutions. These solutions can be adapted to work within the project itself, but the architecture does not rely on it. When technological solutions advance, the project will not become outdated, allowing it to avoid demolition and reconstruction. This establishes a longer lifespan that will far outreach modern technological progress.
Collegium creates strong relationships within both the existing and future developments, while acknowledging its environmental surroundings. It aims to provide for the community by fostering civic pride and strengthening a sense of belonging. When communities and people feel a sense of belonging, they become more open to accepting the future.