Paleizenstraat 153 - 1030 Brussels
T 022444430 F 022444431 E

New construction of offices for an intermunicipal association

Location :
Client :
Team :
Subcontractors :
Bollinger+Grohmann, Tech3, Jan Minne, Daidalos Peutz
Planning :
Category :
Starting from the confluence of the Dender and the Scheldt, Dendermonde stretches west across the landscape until the town joins another bank of the Scheldt at the DDS site. Today, the remarkable bunker-like transhipment silo is therefore a figurehead in the cityscape, marking an end or a beginning. This lighthouse function is obvious to the hiker or cyclist along both river banks and to the drivers on the Bevrijdingslaan. A new volume is positioned in front of the silo, but taking a distance from the industrial buildings. It will give space to the silo, like a twin which on the one hand organises the transition from industry to services and on the other hand accompanies the transition from urban to landscape.

A light canopy connects the two buildings, for a sheltered and legible circulation, to welcome and orientate visitors during the day.

Between the street and the offices, the green space freed up by the new implantation will be a densely planted river landscape that betrays the nature behind it, like an extension of the old Scheldt branch. It is part of a larger green structure and avoids fragmentation into low-value green spaces. Beyond the canopy, the park becomes a more intimate garden, facing the Scheldt.

The building is designed with total flexibility in its layout, its structure and its techniques. The ground floor contains all multi-purpose collective spaces. The reception hall, the dining area and the multi-purpose rooms form a complementary ensemble. With the help of movable partitions or curtains, the spaces can be adapted in the blink of an eye to the possible activities.

The square plan of the offices on the upper floors places the users at the centre of the site, like a watchtower in all directions. We work with a flexible plan around a central space. This generous space gives access to all offices, rooms, and the staircase. The central space becomes a hub for informal use, used as a dynamic meeting and gathering space. The plan is extremely flexible, allowing a truly participatory process to refine the organisation of the spaces, and the building can easily evolve in the future.

The now obsolete bunker (silo) can play a special role. It is obvious that rooms for staff could be created here. But perhaps we dare to think that it is even more interesting to leave the bunker for what it is: an intriguing and unique space that lends itself to multipurpose use and events. Educational activities, exhibitions, and why not a reception or a concert. This space requires a minimum of equipment, much like a cathedral. Lighting, sockets, a sanitary cell. That's all it takes. And then, of course, new openings on the ground floor to transform the space into a dynamic player in the complex allowing for programmatic diversity.

The project has two terraces. At the top is an observation platform, easily accessible by stairs and lift, possibly even outside office hours.
On the roof of the multi-purpose hall is another terrace, directly accessible from the meeting rooms on the first floor. An external staircase turns this terrace into an area accessible from the garden.

(extracts from the competition proposal)