The majority of the University of Liège's activities take place on the Sart Tilman campus, situated some ten kilometres to the South of the Liège city centre. It is there that are to be found the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, the Faculty of Sciences, that of the Applied Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine and that of Veterinary Medicine, the Institute for Human and Social Sciences and in part the HEC-Management School.
Effective links with the city centre, where other University sites remain, were planned from the project's origins.
Sart Tilman's architectural and urban design aims at a perfect harmony with the natural site, in preserving the wooded areas to a maximum. A hundred artworks have been integrated into the site, constituting the Open Air Museum.
Thus the research, teaching and hospital (CHU - Liège University Hospital Centre) activities, the sports infrastructure (the various sports centres), as well as the tourist infrastructure (Open Air Museum, walking paths, etc.), are harmoniously integrated with the wooded areas (over half of the site), which are criss-crossed with walking paths, cross-country skiing tracks and horse riding paths.
Situated at the Southern extremity of the University campus, the Château de Colonster is geared towards hosting conferences, congresses or meetings. It also houses the Georges Simenon Fund collection.
The university estate also offers walkers an acidophilous moorland, close to 20 hectares in size, classed as a natural reserve. In addition the LIEGE science park, on the outskirts of the estate, allows certain state of the art business companies to benefit from the proximity of a science centre of excellence entirely devoted to the spread and the expansion of knowledge.
The Sart Tilman estate is thus an impressive ensemble of laboratories and researchers, students and professors. A buzzing hive of activity in constant communication with the international science community.
In the 1950s the Rector Marcel Dubuisson was looking to give a ‘common spirit’ to the Liège university community, a spirit somewhat undermined by the splintering of Faculty sites in the centre of the town. At the same time the Rector was very impressed by American campuses, modern and integrated, in which the students from different Faculties could easily meet and mutually enrich each other.
He wanted to construct a genuine campus at Liège and the idea of Sart Tilman took shape. On the upper reaches of Liège, at the peak of the Ourthe and Meuse valleys, there existed a wooded estate of some 2000 hectares. A jewel box of greenery, the last green lung of the Liège basin, and threatened by anarchic urbanisation. For Rector Dubuisson, it was the perfect site to build the Liège University of the 21st century. A University seeing eye to eye with nature.
The first lands were bought in 1958. Building followed during the 1960s. The first buildings were constructed on the ridges around the Blanc Gravier brook, forming a horseshoe which dominates the Ourthe valley. The architectural style is staunchly avant-garde.