Kruibeke, 2009-2010

In an industrial area in Kruibeke a design was made which houses several commercial spaces, with destination storage, warehouse, offices and a dwelling. The building features one level with high spaces for storage, with the exception of two areas where a second floor is provided. On the south-east side an area accommodates ground floor office space, with offices and staff rooms on the first floor. On the west side the property features a residential unit located on the first floor, with an entrance area to the north side. On many industrial sites in Belgium it is permitted for the owner of a warehouse to also build a house next to it. Instead of following this classical spatial typology the choice was to integrate the property in the industrial box itself. This conceptual premise yielded some 'positive' results: very compact building, smaller footprint, more space for integration of greenery, an interesting clash between different programs, a refreshing visual vocabulary. Notwithstanding the different architectural styles, shapes, plan types and atmospheres that are combined, the building is conceived as a unitary architectural entity. The building volume is 64m deep by 32.5 meters wide and 8 meters high. All around the building an open green area with trees was introduced, it also incorporates the parking and access roads. The structure is a steel frame and the facades are realized from an anthracite concrete plinth topped by light gray aluminum sandwich panels. On the first floor (west side), the three facades of the house are realized in classical masonry with brown-red brick (type parsonage style). They form a 'internal' terrace. A fourth facade of the property consists of a modernist window. The design integrates perfectly into the existing environment of the commercial area and fits within the spatial morphology of the built volumes in the neighbourhood. Despite this its somewhat strange character raises questions in the minds of passers-by.