The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg built its first university campus on the remains of an old steel factory in Esch-sur-Alzette. Resolutely contemporary, the Terrasse des Hauts Fourneaux (Terrace of the Blast Furnaces), is a dense and urban location, bringing together transformed pre-existing elements with the newly constructed. There is a large amount of visual beauty in the artifice of the conserved industrial components, as well as in the positioning of the newer elements.
The ensemble of public spaces is constituted and unified through the establishment of a large base made out of anthracite bricks. The subtle texture of this handcrafted material works in highlighting a certain excessiveness of the site. Its dark and satin-smooth surface produces the desired effect of depth. The industrial character and background of the site become obvious: numerous buildings are also constructed from brick. The implementation of these small modules, joined together cleanly and positioned on fields, accentuates the richness of the material.
The topography of the public spaces has been designed in such a way so as to not upset the perception of the base as one singular horizontal expanse. Key elements of the layout, such as the long basins made of black steel around some traces of the old factory, play a mirror game with the buildings, while dividing up the unconstructed space.
In order to strengthen the urban character of the campus, located outside of the city and surrounded by countryside, vegetation is introduced in a precise and practiced way, concentrated in the basins and in the winter gardens designed by the architect Inessa Hansch. Bordering on the edge of the university's heart, several urban forests form a significant tree-filled stratum which superimposes itself over the mineral ground of the public squares.
Le Fonds Belval
MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste
IHA Inessa Hansch Architecte
AREAL landscape architecture (consultant local)
13 ha (32 acres)