TGA-planning: Studiebureau R. Boydens
Client: Van Hoorebeke Timber, Gent
Architects: TRANS architectuur | stedenbouw c.v.b.a.
Planning of structural framework: UTIL struktuurstudies
Location: Vasco Da Gamalaan 1, 9000 Ghent (BE)
The harbour in Ghent lies far north of the historical city centre and is connected to the North Sea via a canal. The Arcelor Mittal corporation operates a steelworks here, but the wood-processing industry is well-represented by the van Hoorebeke company. In front of the enterprise’s manufacturing and storage halls, the new reception and administration building designed by Trans architectuur | stedenbouw cuts a rather modest figure. The architects lay value on linking their design to the human scale, something that was urgently necessary in these inhospitable surroundings. The building acts as a first contact point not only for employees, but also for clients and suppliers, who must park their vehicles here and continue over the grounds on foot.
The main entrance to the building is on its back side, under a jutting canopy that rests on supports of exposed concrete and wood. The area beneath will serve primarily as a meeting place and venue for events; it is equipped with an open firepit.
Towards the street, the new headquarters presents itself with a horizontally stacked façade whose regular interruption with walls of cross-laminated timber calls to mind a row of terraced houses. The ground floor is home to the reception, cafeteria and meeting rooms. Upstairs, recessed behind a balcony zone, there are offices for around 25 employees. With the building materials, van Hoorebeke is advertising its own products: apart from the interior columns, the roof and the ground-floor ceiling consist of cross-laminated timber. The façades and the edge supports for the canopy are of exposed concrete.