ORG's competition proposal for a new productive and logistical site in the city of Ghent, designed together with Tab Architects, presents a sustainable, accessible, functionally clear, innovative and flexible logistical design. The site is located in a prominent position on the border between the city and the port at Meulestedebrug.
We approached the design by asking: in what way can the design of a city building transform and complement its location? The vision sought to answer this question by developing a contemporary volume that daylights production as a point of pride, connecting workers, visitors and passersby to a connective point for the city, the port and nearby residential area.
In an environment of functionality and efficiency, we sought a clear and simple plan to organize the site's program, emphasizing a quality interaction for the worker and visitor. The resulting design is a lively, dynamic site that articulates the grandeur and dignity of daily, logistical functions.
The architecture aims to root in and connect to the specificity of the place while exuding a strong identity. Just as the industrial architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries became permanent structures and enabled reconversion, this design establishes a strong and enduring aesthetic that can adapt to shifting demand over time.
The design embodied the aspiration to become meaningful to the nearby communities, to belong to the city and the district, acting as a physical and social space of connection for everyone on the site and in the vicinity, ultimately bringing new life to the urban landscape.
A robust and expressive framework
We desire a sincere and timeless design proposal in its appearance, visual value, and use of materials. A design that seeks to fit in and provide added value in the environment. Our architecture does not aspire to be spectacular. On the contrary, the building is not anonymous but robust and present, in an integral and timeless manner. We are looking for an appropriate, defining presence.
A new building with a strong identity, related to the existing one but also sufficiently autonomous and fitting, belonging to this pivotal point between the city and the port.
An expressive concrete framework, with a structure so distinctive that it inspires future generations for repurposing, ensuring a robust architecture. The roof shape and facade openings are an aesthetic reference to the characteristic roof landscape and the industrial concrete beam structures of former warehouses.
The limited detailing and the concrete framework provide the user with great freedom. The openings are glazed, translucent, or opaque. Translucent facade elements (made of highly insulating polycarbonate) bring diffused light deep into the warehouse. In the studios, we also provide transparent, glazed fillings. They become pleasant working environments with a view of the city, and we make urban production visible again in the public space.
Carefully balanced scales and proportions of window openings create a subtle division. The distinction becomes legible between a base with studios, a middle zone with warehouses, and the culmination with offices and a rooftop greenhouse. A productive city building.
The connecting green structure
A significant part of the site will be landscaped with ground-level greenery, with natural infiltration. More than just creating a green buffer for the neighborhood, we want to utilize this roadside landscape as a connecting element. We make the modal shift visible. The slope of this green structure creates a natural enclosure of the site. The green embankments ensure that all logistical movements in the inner courtyard are concealed from the view of the neighborhood.
Sander Aelvoet, Doras Alver, Nitay Lehrer
City of Ghent
40.773m2 BVO + 9.553m2 surroundings
Tab Architects, Ney & Partners, Brix Advice, Boydens Engineering, D2S, M-Tech, Gilles Pieters Landschapsarchitect, Visual Phenomena Studies