In Aartselaar, construction of the new Aquafin head office has started. Wood, reused materials and innovative techniques play a major role in the design: they ensure that the so-called Campus Aquafin will be a circular building. The project should be ready in the summer of 2022. The design by B-architecten came about in collaboration with Cenergie, UTIL and DELVA Landscape Architecture & Urbanism; contractor Van Roey is carrying out the works.
Aquafin's current main office is spread over three plots in a small SME zone. In their design, B-architecten centralised all the workplaces on the central plot in an existing concrete structure, which they expanded with several smaller volumes. They filled in the two adjoining plots with parking spaces, a spacious bicycle shed in a wooden structure and a refectory pavilion that looks out over the water at the border of the plot.
Impact on employees
In each design decision, the architects took into account the impact on the employees. The central building was completely organised in greenery, the car parks were bundled and the new building will have personalised workspaces according to different types of work and atmosphere. As a result, the head office becomes a flexible meeting place.
The building will always follow the principles of circularity. For example, the blue stone floor finish from the existing building will be reused in the refectory pavilion, just like the acoustic baffles from the existing landscape offices. A number of porcelain washbasins, toilet bowls, urinals and accompanying partition walls will also be given a second life in the new office.
In addition to the reuse of materials from the existing building, an air group is brought to Aartselaar from another location. The concrete structure of the original building will therefore not be demolished, but renovated instead. Because the existing building was completely dismantled down to the concrete structure, the architects were able to retain the staircase and sanitary cores from the existing situation in the new design.
From this concrete structure, they provide new insulation and facade finishing. B-architecten is working with sustainable wooden prefab elements in which, among other things, the insulation is already incorporated. These will be finished with wooden boards and the exterior joinery will also be made entirely out of wood, just like a large part of the extensions: the new refectory pavilion will consist entirely of a wood structure in CLT, with another wooden facade finish. The connection between the new head office and the refectory pavilion will be made out of wood as well.
Cold and heat
In the office building, riothermal energy will be applied. This means that the heat and cold from the street sewers will be used to heat and cool the building. The suspended climate ceiling consists of small slats containing tubes that provide cooling and heating. Simply put, you can compare it with underfloor heating, but in the suspended ceiling. This is a circular principle because, on the one hand, it can be used in an existing building and, on the other, it allows for future adaptations.
To prevent overheating, all small spaces such as concentration workplaces and smaller meeting rooms were organised around the existing atrium from the very first sketch. The larger landscape offices are located against the outer facade.
Read more on circubuild.be
Learn more about the project here.