29.2.2008

Workshop building with mixed functions in Schoten, Belgium

The workshop building is located in a context of sculptural indu­strial buildings along the Albertkanaal, a canal connecting the cities of Antwerp and Luik. Our task was to design an inexpensive building that houses an extraordinary multitude of functions: a concierge apartment, an office space, a meeting room, a cafeteria, changing rooms, a wood- and a metal workshop, a garage and an outside storage space.


In order to keep the plot free of clutter, we decided to integrate the storage zone into the volume, literally increasing the sub­stance of the workshop building. The required fence around the plot “shrinks to fit”: Instead of en­circling the whole plot, it becomes a protective skin for the buil­ding. In fact it forms an inexpensive façade with an intriguing moiré effect, through which its black hypodermis, consisting of insulation material, remains visible.

Inside, the workshops and storage spaces are situated in the body and tail of the building, while the more complex functions are fittingly located in its head.

An incision marking the main entrance splits the head into two: One part facing the West and containing the cafeteria and of­fice space, the other facing the South and housing the concierge apartment which has a loggia looking out over the canal.

The result is a beastlike structure that can easily compete with its older neighbours when it comes to sculptural shape and re­cognizability.

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