By setting up their offices in a former carpentry workshop in Zwevegem, Sileghem & Partners, an architectural and engineering firm, consciously chose to sustainably repurpose existing heritage. The attention of the architects had been caught by a small, abandoned, industrial building. They decided to save the outer brick shell and its structure, whilst converting the whole into an energy-efficient office building. Top of their wish list was combining an open-plan feel (for the work space) with the scale of a small, secluded, grassy area.
A modern clay tile roof
The deserted carpentry shop had been extended over the years, and then left to gather dust and scars. The architectural firm did not consider this a reason to tear it down. Instead, they opted for careful renovation. The unnecessary additions were demolished, and the damaged roofs were replaced with a well-insulated flat roof, cladded with clay roof tiles, that rests on the existing, steel structure. The new walls are built in the same red-brown colour palette of clay bricks. Without screaming, the new building modestly attracts attention.
Well-planned layouts, substantial insulation, and careful attention to detail resulted in a K-value (thermal losses through the building shell) of 27 and an airtightness rating of 0.7/h (n50). Underfloor heating is powered by a condensing gas furnace. The net energy requirement is 112 kWh/m². Adding solar panels will bring the E-value down to 22.
A place to feel good at work
Even more impressive than the energy efficiency statistics are the quality of the workspaces and the way in which they were conceptualised, reworked, refined and built by the architects. The spaces for intensive or group work had to be precisely linked up, with special attention to acoustic comfort and a sense of openness, where possible, and privacy, where needed.
Project nameOffice building Slieghem & Partners, Zwevegem, Belgium
ArchitectSlieghem & Partners
Terca Egala Elise and Koramic Plain Tile 301 Wine Red glazed
Year of completion2017