KHK Turnhout

An open gate towards the future

At the start of the 2010 academic year, the Katholieke Hogeschool Kempen welcomed students and teachers to their new campus in Turnhout. KHK commisioned MAXIMALdesign to create an overall interior concept for this new site.

At the former military grounds of the ‘Blairon Kazerne’ at the outskirts of Turnhout, the first brick was layed in 2009 for the construction of the new campus. At that moment the interior project started with a few workshops in order to find the differentiating mission, functions and experience for the new college. Students are choosing the start of their professional careers in medical service, teaching and business science. To nurture these talents the school management decided to add the extra element for the school environment. 

After intensive workshops with all stakeholders, the ‘Open Gate’ concept was chosen for the connection with the KHK’s three basic values: to offer an inspiring environment, a stimulating culture and aa inspiring organisation...  The ‘Open Gate’ concept welcomes everybody inside to join the educational discussion and is a bridge to the world and the students’ future.


The united colors of Campus Turnhout are fresh, fun and cool. Although, some find the yellow too yellow and the magenta too pink. But there is more than that. The campus area has four color zones. The four primary printing colors (CMYK) link the campus with the city of Turnhout, a center of printing industry.


The names of auditoriums and meeting rooms (Univers, Thesis, Officina, Lucida, ...) refer to graphic arts. They are names of fonts and characters which simultaneously refer to concepts such as font, archetype, character, digit, language, communication, traffic. And in return we can associate with our core activities: education, sports, culture, healthcare, trade.


A bit (leg) of the Holy digit 8 is a basic element in the digital world. It is included in the formal language of the campus and can be read as liaison, shackle, link and form a group to sign, number, bridge and gate. These elements can be found in the signaling, in the form of chairs and tables, sofas and seats, cabinets, racks and platforms. The huge fire doors between the various buildings and wings act as area gateways or ports.


The four color zones can be read as:

° c = cyan (blue) = training (education)

° m = magenta = distraction (entertainment)

° y = yellow = introduction (information)

° k = key (black) = leadership (and administration)

The classification of the concept by colorzones is not explicitly, but intuitively. The user of the building is unconsciously guided (over bridges, through gates to different areas) in an associative way of signage and wayfinding so that residents and visitors are invited to participate in the building, becoming one with the look and feel of the area. 


The use of separate elements (ottomans, pillows, seats who can be lincked) creates a form of associative freedom, seduces to improvise and appeals to search engines for gathering new knowledge. Campus Turnhout wants to be more than a traditional school with classrooms and schedules. The campus must be a forum, a network of structured and casual encounters, an intersection of disciplines, an open gateway to prominent occupations in a rapidly changing world.