Tilburg University has extended its campus with the Faculty Club, a multipurpose pavilion for the academic staff and their guests. Shift architecture urbanism took the initiative to reanimate the quintessential quality of the Tilburg campus: strong solitary buildings in the green. The monumental modernism of Jos Bedaux served as a frame of reference. Bedaux designed the first – still the best – buildings for the university in the sixties.

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Client: Tilburg University
Design: Shift architecture urbanism, Rotterdam
Project architects: Harm Timmermans and Pieter Heymans
Collaborators: Sabine Hogenhout, Bahar Akkoclu and Tjeerd Bloothoofd
Developer: Van der Weegen Bouwontwikkeling, Tilburg
Main contractor: Van der Weegen Bouwgroep, Tilburg
Construction: Bartels, Eindhoven
Installations: Van Delft Installaties, Nieuwkuijk
Stone façade: Van Stokkum Natuursteen, Venlo
Glass façade: MHB, Herveld
Fixed interior: Smeulders IG, Nuenen
Concrete floor: Van Kempen Bedrijfsvloeren, Bergeijk
Garden: Van Helvoirt Groenprojecten, Berkel Enschot
Lighting: Philips Lighting and Living Projects
Furniture: Brokx Projectinrichting, Oosterhout with Vitra
Photography: René de Wit, if otherwise it is stated
Garden design: MTD, Den Bosch
Garden realisation: Van Helvoirt Groenprojecten, Berkel Enschot

Faculty Club By Shift A+U - Sheet2By creating a strong formal relation between the existing university buildings and the new Faculty Club, an ensemble of omni-directional solitairesis created. This enables one to recognize the Faculty Club as part of the university, despite its peripheral forest location and exclusive program.

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The Faculty Club is designed as a carved-out-monolith, one simple box in which transparency and massiveness melt together. The central restaurant is carved out from the center, creating a tunnel-effect in the front façade. In order to strengthen its solitairecharacter, the building is lifted from the ground. The height difference is bridged by outside stairs and a ramp integrated within the front façade.

Faculty Club By Shift A+U - Sheet3Each façade has only one window. By recessing each window, outdoor spaces are created within the front and rear façades. These mark the entrance in front and form a large covered terrace in the back. The simplicity and plasticity of the three-dimensional window treatment further contributes to the building’s sculptural qualities.

The primary program consists of a restaurant for eighty persons, a lounge and two conference rooms. The secondary program consists of a kitchen, storage space and other services. The further the functions are situated from the campus, the more intimate and informal the space becomes. The conference rooms look out over the campus, while the lounge completely relates to the forest and the garden. All main functions are physically linked by a transparent axis running the length of the building.

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Faculty Club By Shift A+U - Sheet4Both the lounge and the restaurant are connected to the carved-out terrace situated at the rear of the building. A four-rail system of sliding windows enables one to open up two-thirds of
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the total eighteen meters of glass façade. This intensifies the experience of the forest without the visitor having to step outside the building envelope.

Faculty Club By Shift A+U - Sheet6The construction principles of the Faculty Club are deceptively simple. In order to emphasize contrasting space and mass, the structure, installations and details are integrated within walls and floors. The starting point for the engineering was the visual absence of technique. Key contractors and consultants were engaged early in the process of preliminary design, enabling the development of precise and project-specific details that consistently support the overall concept.Shift architecture urbanismwas responsible for the design, including the execution drawings and the site supervision.

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Faculty Club By Shift A+U - Sheet8

The result is an integral, durable and engaging building. A monolith carved in such a way as to both profit and profit from the surrounding landscape while maintaining its distinct primary form. Its architecture refers to the heritage of Jos Bedaux by abstracting and updating his formal language. This makes the building into a solidary solitaire, sober and luxurious, massive and transparent, silent and outspoken.

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Shift A+U

Shift architecture urbanism is a Rotterdam based architecture firm that operates both beyond the traditional boundaries of architecture and at the same time within the hard core of architecture.

In their work Shift strives for a craftsmanship attitude throughout each phase of the architectural process. Experiment and originality are balanced with skill and precision. Rather than on the newness, the focus is on performance and conceptual clarity.

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The architecture of Shift has chameleonic properties in the sense that it adapts its appearance to the context. The specific style of a project is therefore never imposed nor assigned. Just as with the chameleon, merging into its environment is not necessarily the goal. The goal is communication and the establishment of a visual dialogue with the environment. The history of the place and the careful handling of the existing plays a crucial role in the development of the design.

Shift stands for a proactive approach to relevant spatial issues shaping the contemporary environment. Next to their building projects, the office engages in self-initiated research-by-design studies on themes as transport, infrastructure, sports and (the public domain of) the city. In these studies, Shift visualizes future scenarios through specific spatial interventions charged with form, program and typology.

Shift and it’s three partners, Harm Timmermans, Oana Radeş and Thijs van Bijsterveldt, have received several awards for their contribution to architecture, of which the Charlotte Köhler Prize, the Red Dot Design Award, the base price of Prix the Rome and first prizes in Archiprix Nederland and Archiprix International.

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Rethinking The Future Awards 2022