The workhouse is part of a complex situated alongside the canal which has a very original and distinct character thanks to its special typology and materialisation. Unlike traditional industrial ‘boxes’, the workhouse’s programmatic mix is rather peculiar: it includes a garage, workshops, offices and a caretaker’s residence. As a starting point for dealing with the resulting contextual, financial and programmatic constraints, the brief was carefully analysed. The proposed budget was very limited and was therefore a determining factor in the chosen design strategy. By integrating the storage area within the overall volume, the workhouse is literally leant more substance, sparing the site from random storage. The requested fence around the area ‘shrinks”, as protection, up against the inexpensive EPDM shell of the building. Instead of choosing a standard height for the building, a differentiating profile was chosen in line with the divergent functions and their respective requirements. The side of the building made way for a more sculptural treatment, boosting the building’s expressive character while linking the exterior to the main functional areas. The result of these interventions is a building with a strong identity which retains the open character of the surrounding landscape.