Designing the building for an architecture school is a high-pressure ask for most architects, as it should stand as an exemplar for all the students who pass through it over the years, and studio Aires Mateus has delivered. Rather than showing off the grand, whole potential of architecture, the studio opted to make use of negative space by creating a striking, home-shape hole in the outer courtyard.
The building, which is Universite Catholique de Louvain's Tournai campus in Belgium, features a full-sized cutout of a traditional home's shape. The metaphorical potential is tremendous in such a design statement. For one, walking through the home to access the university building itself symbolizes entering a place where students can feel like they're at home. Further, the empty traditional shape is encouragement for students to explore outside of established norms when building the next generation of structures.