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Issue #21

COMBINING A FEEL-GOOD ATMOSPHERE WITH SUSTAINABILITY

Green building

In Hasselt, Belgium, a small after school club was built, respecting the natural surroundings, maintaining the green area for the whole town, and creating a pleasant environment for all the children attending it. Lens°Ass Architecten demonstrated their sensitive feel for context with this project. Their initial brief was to build onto an existing row of terraced houses, whilst providing a passageway to a park. The architects decided not to erect any additional large buildings at the expense of the precious trees. Instead, they approached the task from the other end.
Brick building interior industrial design Wienerberger De Ark
© Lens°Ass Architecten & Philippe van Gelooven
Brick facade building side view terrace Wienerberger De Ark
© Lens°Ass Architecten & Philippe van Gelooven
Brick facade building front view windows Wienerberger De Ark
© Lens°Ass Architecten & Philippe van Gelooven
Brick facade building detail view windows Wienerberger De Ark
© Lens°Ass Architecten & Philippe van Gelooven

COMBINING A FEEL-GOOD ATMOSPHERE WITH SUSTAINABILITY

Green building

In Hasselt, Belgium, a small after school club was built, respecting the natural surroundings, maintaining the green area for the whole town, and creating a pleasant environment for all the children attending it. Lens°Ass Architecten demonstrated their sensitive feel for context with this project. Their initial brief was to build onto an existing row of terraced houses, whilst providing a passageway to a park. The architects decided not to erect any additional large buildings at the expense of the precious trees. Instead, they approached the task from the other end.

To maintain the green area for the town, they did not extend the row of houses, but designed a pavilion in the park with “roots” between the trees and shrubs. They used the garden wall as a rear wall, so the building is barely visible from the street. The façade was laid in the thin-bed method; the texture of the bricks fits very well into the rampant growth of the surroundings.

URBAN RECREATION AREA

Using a pavilion allowed a larger space to be kept vacant. In addition, the in- teraction between the two functions – urban park and day care centre – brings added value to both, and also to the urban fabric. All functions are clear, obvious and spatially logical. The round skylights punctuating the outer wall as windows increase social control in the park. They create a friendly atmosphere, doing justice to the name of the project: “De Ark” – the ark. Together, the pavilion and wall create a space protected from the outside world.

Brick facade building front view garden Wienerberger De Ark
© Lens°Ass Architecten & Philippe van Gelooven
Brick facade building detail view window Wienerberger De Ark
© Lens°Ass Architecten & Philippe van Gelooven

Nowadays, it’s all about sustainability and the ecological footprint. History teaches us that brick buildings are not only long-lasting, but are also exceptionally durable. A comforting thought for anyone who invests in real estate.

Bart Lens, Lens°Ass Architecten

Brick building interior industrial design Wienerberger De Ark
© Lens°Ass Architecten & Philippe van Gelooven
Brick building interior play area industrial design Wienerberger De Ark
© Lens°Ass Architecten & Philippe van Gelooven

SUSTAINABILITY AS A KEY REQUIREMENT

All materials used (concrete, brick and wood) were chosen and incorporated with the application of the relevant sustainability criteria. The large trees which were preserved, and which shelter the new pavilion, contribute to the climatic concept. Rainwater is collected in the courtyards and on the roofs, and is able to seep into the ground. The choice of bricks, too, reflects this approach: clay is part of our physical environment. Bart Lens says that, as the architects had dealt with some very old houses in the course of their many conversion projects, they naturally became acquainted with the unique properties of brick. He appreciates brick because of “the wonderfully aging patina, the easy cleanability, flexible use and reuse, and also the solid robustness of the material”. “De Ark” creates a feel-good atmosphere in respect to nature and sustainability.

Facts & Figures
  • Project name
    De Ark, Hasselt, Belgium
  • Architect
    Lens°Ass Architecten
  • Client
    VZW De Wiekslag
  • Used products

    Terca Blau-Rood Genuanceerd

  • Year of completion
    2014
Terca Blau-Rood Genuanceerd brick facade wienerberger

Façade

Terca Blau-Rood Genuanceerd – Belgium