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DOCKS BRUXSEL, BRUSSELS


15


The mix of old and new buildings is a key part of what gives the project its architectural interest


turned into a museum. In addition the listed ‘Cathedral’ building, a timber-framed, brick clad four-storey textile factory, now houses restaurants and a function suite. Architect at Art & Build Luc Deleuze comments that the ‘Cathedral’ building “sets the direction for the plans, and is a really important part of the composition.” The mix of old and new buildings is a key part of what gives the project its architec- tural interest, further enhanced by the mix of materials, such as timber planks cladding ground floor forms, and zinc and steel to internal and external cladding. David Roulin, CEO of Art & Build, says the client’s ambition was to “revitalise” this brownfield site, although he admits it was “an improbable location from the start.” However, the architects “created a debate around the urban restructuring of this location, with the additional wish expressed by the client to exploit the natural resources of the site.”


This BREEAM Excellent development includes a pipeline linking the nearby incinerator to the retail area of Docks, which supplies recovered heat that was


ADF SEPTEMBER 2017


previously cooled and dumped into the canal. This means that all of the area’s heating is provided by recovered heat, which is impressive. There is also a substantial array of PV panels mounted on green roofs and rainwater harvesting, plus avoidance of air conditioning in favour of natural ventilation.


A new neighbourhood


According to Roulin, the overriding aim of the design response was to avoid a tradi- tional shopping centre and instead create a “neighbourhood, with squares and streets.” Lilia Poptcheva explains further: “It resem- bles a town, we have created unobstructed views from the mall to the canal. You are not just surrounded by buildings, you can see the town, the tram as it goes past, and the trees changing over the seasons.” She adds: “It’s a living place, much more about the quality of perception and contact with the exterior, light and shadows, the sun changing over the course of the day.” The public walkways through the site have been carefully planned to resolve level changes across the development, and


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ALL THE TRIMMINGS


The curved geometry of the futuristic new events venue meant zinc panels had to be trimmed on site © Georges de Kinder


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