44 lofts / 10 offices / 2 commercial areas
The industrial site is located along the road linking Doornik to Avelgem, at the edge of the city center not far from the old station. As a defining landscape feature, the site has become a true landmark with its impressive chimney and main building. Not surprisingly, their architectural history is quite complex. Over the years, the main building has been renovated and extended many times.
In light of long-term preservation, the monument utterly needed an excellent rezoning. The earlier industrial activities had become outdated and were not advisable anymore. As a result, they could not guarantee the sustainability of the building. A blend of new functions, amongst which residence, services and commercial activities, was the logical answer.
The site’s architectural characteristics dominate the landscape. As one of its essential features, the closed structure has been maintained. The factory walls remain in their original context but have been optimized with strategic visual disruptions. These architectural disruptions strengthen the transition between private and public area and the site’s integration of the surroundings as well as to the landscape and city. The openings also soften the closedness of the construction. In this way, the site provides a feeling of security and comfort as well as absolute interaction with the background. The creation of a separated, yet not isolated, isle reinforces the site’s uniqueness through the preservation of its architectural identity.
A blend of purposes was of concern for the conversion. These various functions stands for a continuous activity while avoiding the appearance of single-use zones. A strong differentiation also served as foundation for the housing typologies. The dwellings’ size varies according to situation, positioning and number of housings. The top floor of the main building has been converted into 4 penthouses. The design as well as the materials were chosen according to the old cooling towers: a wooden structure with a wooden wall covering. The preference also went to a prefabricated structure to increase the versatility of the building.
The new architecture solely use the existing spaces in order to guarantee a quality living environment. The opening at the zenith ensures the incidence of light in all the lofts as well as the comfort of the South-oriented balconies of all units. The Northern frontage shelters housings and offices with an open parking lot at the rear.