This building, commissioned by the Provincial Development Company of West-Flanders, will provide rentable working and production spaces for four young companies in various fields of work. It is the only common building of the allotment of private companies and thus needs to express that position. For that reason, the building is at once very ‘box-like’ and archetypical but also elegant and refined, to set an example of economy of means and public engagement.
The project is a simple and spartan box, demonstrating a refined use of standard industrial building elements, such as prefabricated concrete walls, aluminium cladding and cupboard-like office spaces. A continuous north-oriented glasshouse facade brings light until deep into the ateliers, mirroring the open backside of the building. The four spaces are flanked by a communal meeting room, whose triangular form distorts the simple geometry of the building, and plays a perspective game with visitors arriving on its parking lot. The overhanging roof creates a set of protected parking lots in the back for the renters, thus freeing the public front facade of the obligatory cars, and maximising space for manoeuvres at the front gates. The distorted perimeter of the building is en exercise in box-ness, making an argument for a self-conscious utilitarian architecture.