School buildings in motion

Antwerp Urban Education works on quality school modules

The Municipal Education of Antwerp is one of the largest organizing authorities in Flanders with no fewer than 116 schools, spread across 351 buildings. The growing and rejuvenating Antwerp population has created a great need for additional places in the school benches over the past years. The current temporary container classrooms are a less sustainable solution: it seems quick and cheap, but rental costs are high, and they are not made for long-term use. 

With this project, we aim to develop a more sustainable alternative for (temporary) classrooms, namely movable school modules. We strive to achieve the same quality as a new-build school so that the same module can have multiple lives and can then be incorporated into a permanent school. Moreover, we want to design the modules so that they can also take on other functions. In this way, we apply circular principles to the current infrastructure needs in education and hope to demonstrate that temporary solutions can be future-proof. 

Autonoom Gemeentebedrijf Stedelijk Onderwijs Antwerpen

Partners Groep Van Roey, Skilpod, UHassel





  1. Our two showcase modules will soon be produced and placed. For both, we already have a project sheet with a description of the situation and capacity needs, and the sketches of the standard modules.
  2. We developed a tendering procedure and example specifications to organize a market demand for movable school modules. This way, we can also provide other authorities and companies with tools to integrate circular construction principles and set up innovative tenders. 
  3. We developed a decision-making framework with which a builder or project developer can gain insight into the increased residual value and valorization possibilities of the reusable modules. This simplifies long-term choices. 
  4. We analyzed alternatives to the classic long-term investment in a sales model. Thus, we investigated how an innovative business model such as school as a service (SaaS) can generate added value for all parties involved. 


  1. The conversations with more innovative end-users gave us additional insight and were enlightening for the trajectory. We also met stakeholders with a more traditional vision. We learn from this that we can maintain our initial innovative focus, but that feedback from the end-user is definitely important. 
  2. The SaaS model is considered an extra in the tender (with risks...), creating some reluctance. The informative workshop about this model was an eye-opener for many and proves that with the right effort to inform, we can bring more people together. 
  3. There was anxiety among internal staff because such an innovative trajectory brings new legal challenges. This aversion was mainly linked to the fear of making mistakes. Here too, by putting more effort into informing, we were able to reassure many. 
  4. There is still a tension between the goal of system innovation on the one hand and the practical approach from product development on the other. A possible solution is to split the trajectory and work at two speeds: with the private partner and the public partner. 
2 showcases
303.930 kWh energy saved/y
45 tonne CO2 saved/y
1 procurement procedure


In the near future, the full tendering process will be completed. We hope for a delivery of the two test modules in the summer of 2024. We expect that the use of these modules and the associated positive experiences will lead to an upscale within and even outside the organization Municipal Education of Antwerp. 

Although the project starts from a housing problem in education, this trajectory and the lessons learned can be relevant for various organizations looking for sustainable temporary housing: healthcare, elderly care, sports clubs ... as well as more commercial targets.