10. The Therminal
Idyllically located on the waterfront, the Ghent Student Unions and associations have their own hidden oasis here. The Student House is located in the old coal furnace of the university. On the quayside, coal was unloaded and then processed in the furnace to generate steam. This then heated the adjacent university buildings through a system of tubes.
After a prestigious renovation of the old 'coal shed', the Therminal opens its doors in 2006. The brick chimney still reminds us of the former use of the building. Student unions and associations can use the Therminal for their activities and meetings. Compared with the old House around the corner, the Therminal resembles a palace. It fits the idea of the 21st-century student, who is a customer of the university and needs to be indulged with ample infrastructure and facilities.
Ghent can’t ignore its students. It is a huge group: 32,000 university students and a similar number of college students. In Ghent, one in five inhabitants out of a total of 240,000 is a student. The impact of the students on mobility, housing and waste management is therefore enormous. The university relieves the burden on the city by offering numerous amenities: dorms, restaurants, sports facilities, cycles, doctors and facilities like the Therminal. But to this day, the biggest challenge remains to try and integrate the constant increase of students with the rest of the city.