Holcim Foundation



“Bringing infrastructure to the fore”

Regional Jury Report – Europe

Sustainability concept: reducing the demand for energy by implementing energy-saving …
Sustainability concept: reducing the demand for energy by implementing energy-saving measures (greening as passive cooling, adequate orientation, overhanging slabs for sun protection, thick insulation, compact volume, heat recuperation, electrical vehicles, etc), using sustainable sources of energy (district heating, heat pump, photovoltaic panels, heat loop, etc), rainwater recuperation and reuse, greening (buffer, compensatory, etc) and generic building typology (load carrying slabs, big spans, etc).

As declared by the architects, the project – located along the Willebroek Canal in a fast-growing district of Brussels – has to satisfy the particular current needs of a waste collection company, while simultaneously being able to adapt to changing future circumstances. Addressing this double agenda, the project proposes a carefully designed framework that is both specific and general. Whereas its specificity pertains to the building’s integration in the urban fabric (establishing a green corridor between a residential neighborhood, a small park, a new courtyard, and a canal), its structure is functionally indeterminate, allowing the building to transform in time according to future needs. Its present function as a logistics hub for a garbage company stages its daily activities in the midst of a vibrant neighborhood, foregrounding the co-dependence among seemingly incompatible functions in the city.

The design’s adaptable framework as well as its minimal deployment of architectural and technical means was considered a remarkable contribution to sustainable construction by the members of the jury panel. The proposed scheme’s twofold approach to the task at hand – offering a careful urban integration of the facility as well as providing a non-specific structure that can accommodate future needs – was greatly appreciated as the discussions unfolded. Particularly valued was the design’s underlying premise to re-integrate logistics infrastructures in the inner city (such as those needed for garbage collection), rather than displacing them to peripheral locations and keeping them out of sight, so to speak. Bringing infrastructure to the fore, the design merges economic and aesthetic considerations, offering a form of resilient architecture that turns limitations into a quality.

Last Updated: June 03, 2017
Article Details
Lausanne, Switzerland
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