Channel Located Workhouse

Channel Located Workhouse

Schoten, Belgium | View Map
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Car Parks

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Architectenweb Magazine

Allard van der Hoek

Channel Located Workhouse

Architectenweb Magazine as Media

Loos Architects and HUB have been able to add sculptural expression to a simple shed.

Near Schoten, Belgium, the Albert channel is flanked by prominent industrial buildings on both sides. In collaboration with HUB, Loos Architects realised a steel mixed use building for the Ministry of Public Works and Water Management, in line with a series of distinctive concrete silos, breweries made from stone and a sports centre. The mixed use building includes a garage, workshops, offices and a home for the caretaker. The main lounges are situated in the head of the building. The caretakers’ apartment faces towards the channel behind a glass wall, the balcony from the canteen pops out in the direction of the garden. For cost efficiency the fence around the building merges with the low cost PVE-skin of the building. Hereby the storage space becomes part of the building volume and therefore gives it more body. The elevation of the building on the long side is defined by the varying ceiling heights. High spaces are required in the workshop areas. The façade line follows the varying heights. This functional requirement gives the building its form and sculptural expression.

Workshop Building


The workshop building is located in a context of sculptural industrial buildings along a canal. Our task was to design an inexpensive building that houses a multitude of functions. In order to keep the plot free of clutter, we decided to integrate the storage zone into the volume, literally increasing the substance of the building. The required fence around the plot "shrinks to fit": Instead of encircling the whole plot, it becomes a protective skin for the building. In fact it forms an inexpensive façade, through which its black PU hypodermis, remains visible. Inside, the workshops and storage spaces are situated in the body and tail of the building, while the more complex functions are fittingly located in its head. An incision marking the main entrance splits the head into two: One part containing the cafeteria and office space, the other housing the concierge apartment which has a balcony looking out over the canal. The result is a beastlike structure that can easily compete with its older neighbours when it comes to sculptural shape and recognizability.

Project: Workshop building with concierge apartment, office spaces, cafeteria, changing rooms, wood- and metal workshop, garage and outside storage space

Architect: Miguel Loos / HUB

Consultants: BAS, Bureau Bouwtechniek

Client: De Scheepvaart

Date: 2002-2006

Budget: € 1.300.000,- (excl. VAT and fees)

Building surface: 2.375 m2


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