Masterplan and new school buildings in Zwevegem

New construction and renovation of school buildings in Zwevegem, Belgium


Kappaert is a school campus that includes a variety of activities; a school for children with special needs, an art academy and summer recreational activities. It fits into a heterogeneous built environment, characterised by underutilised public spaces and a cemetery, that will disappear over time.
With the aim of creating an open and permeable campus, welcoming for all the different groups of users that will live its spaces, the project is defined by an ambiguity between dissolving boundaries and creating boundaries.
A system of interconnected landscape “rooms” organizes the layout of the campus, giving it clarity and ensuring visual coherence. Within this landscape, the new architectural interventions act as visual anchor points, offering reference points while walking through the campus.
The spatial articulation of the new building adapts to and reinforces the urban layout. The large program is split into three smaller volumes, that contribute in completing the urban ‘rooms’ structure, as well as creating a harmonic insertion in the surrounding landscape.
Together with the urban structure, the architectural configuration of the new interventions contribute to generating soft transitions. A big shelter invites entrance, guides the passage and encourages to play. A sequence of covered spaces connects the three buildings, acting as a gradient that blurs and expands the limits of built space. The courtyard is conceived as a permeable threshold that enables a fluid transition between spaces.
Likewise, interior spaces unfold progressively. The circulation space is conceived as an expanded threshold. The corridor, receding at the level of the classroom entrances, generates a regular and predicable, yet surprising, rhythm. Long benches invite to rest; big windows deepen the visual perspective on the patio and bring spaces together. A niche enables a calm transition between corridor and classroom, while at the same time acts as a collective space responding to diverse didactic situations or as a retreat space that allows for decompression.
Starting from the need to define protected spaces for children on the autism spectrum, the Kappert campus project is the result of an architecture design reasoned and configured through the theme of coexistence; a project that works with boundaries, at the intersection of built and open space, and that aims to translate coexistence into a coherent built form.

Find out more about the project on the official OPENCALL page

Client: Municipality of Zwevegem
Status: Ongoing
Architect: BDR bureau and carton123 architecten
BDR bureau – Alberto Bottero, Simona Della Rocca, Alina Salahoru, Wilhelmine Perner, Lennart Behaeghel
carton123 architecten – Els Van Meerbeek, Joost Raes; Jordy Van Osselaer, Sara De Sterck, Pauline Vermeulen, Dorien Pelst
Landscape design: Joost Emerick
Technical collaborators:
Sileghem & Partners (structural engineering)
STir (tecnical installations)
D2S International (acoustical engineering)
KU Leuven Research [x] Design (inclusive design expertise)