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16


DOCKS BRUXSEL, BRUSSELS


INTERIOR DESTINATION


One of the zinc ‘pebbles’ houses a cinema © Georges de Kinder


reinforce the continuity of access through this new urban quarter. As Roulin explains, “The entire project revolved around solving the seven metre height difference between the level of the quay and that of the road – we created a towpath.” Two routes have been created, one from the quay and one from the main road, and each connecting to one of the two floors of retail. These run between a varied mix of buildings, some curved and organic and some more linear around the pedestrian walkways. This mix was key to the architects’ wish to create a “piece of the city, not a shopping centre,” as Poptcheva puts it. Marco Da Col, concept designer at the practice, describes the materials mix: “There are very contemporary metal-clad buildings, and there are more monolithic, calm build- ings clad with terracotta. We wanted to recreate the effect you have when you walk through a town, so we designed different buildings, each with its own architecture.”


Pebbles & an ‘exterior interior’


The first of three zinc-clad ovoid ‘pebbles’ forms the left flank of the glorious main entrance, housing shops and eateries.


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Here, the enormous 10,000 m2


undulating


glazed roof that covers the spacious walkways between shops cantilevers spectacularly out over the entrance and a terrace cafe, reaching fair distance over what is a decent-sized public square. Through the main entrance doors, the rich and unexpected variety of materials continues, echoing the industrial past by continuing the clay brick paving from the square into the building, forming an attractive and robust floor.


This blending of interior and exterior is most apparent in the internal walkways, which feel ‘outside’, to the extent that it’s not immediately obvious you have entered an enclosed space at all. They are light and airy, helped by a smart natural ventilation system which operates skylights in response to temperature changes. Materials such as cladding are continued from outside to inside to increase the feeling of separate, distinct buildings for distinct functions, all however still connected and protected by the glass roof floating above. The lightness of this unifying white-framed structure is enhanced by the minimal amount of columns, Art & Build having maximised the


ADF SEPTEMBER 2017


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