News from home! Belgium based architects BOB361 designed this office building for VDAB located in St. Niklaas, Belgium. The project got recently shortlisted in the office category of the World Architecture Festival this year.
Staff can enter the building via an internal staircase from the car park beneath the building. The building on top is supported by black and yellow angled columns. Visitors can enter from the street or through the garden.
Considering the urban anchoring of the site, the angles of this building block are the regulating elements. The VDAB-project anchors itself with the existing context on the corner of the Noordlaan-Drie Koningenstraat, which is in direct relation with various public functions (post, ministry of finances), located near the main road. It is an intuitive meeting point located on a wide footpath. The second angle is the location for a possible extension and is at present, included in the project’s garden.
Concerning the implantation of the building, the volume is entirely concentrated on the street side. This offers several advantages in the field of compactness, economy and energy assessment, acoustic comfort for the offices on the garden side, large distances to the neighbouring houses and avoids fragmentation of the open green space. For the acoustic comfort on the street side, patios were added. As a result, a simple image of the emplacement between the built and green space appears.
Because of the excavating cost the lightly polluted soil, the actual volume to be removed is minimised by mooring the parking into a slope. The remaining volume of soil extracted is used to form a landscaped garden and is naturally purified by the use of fotoremediating plants. The open and slightly sloped car park, offers thus, a pleasant solution that is naturally lit and ventilated, with clear views on the garden and other open spaces. Furthermore, the principal interior distribution passage way of the building, runs from the ground level to the first floor along a slope that is parallel to the parking space; This walkway links the public spaces on the ground floor in a natural and spatial manner with semi-public spaces on the higher levels.
On the second floor, functions that receive a lesser public audience are concentrated. These functions include offices for the Executive Board, staff services. A general meeting room forms the head of the building. The space next to the vertical staircase, can be used as individual conversation areas, by all staff members.
On the first floor, a number of common functions are settled. Directly above the reception hall, the cafeteria that includes a small kitchen, a smoking lounge, and a meeting room. The financial and facility services offices are situated, centrally in the building.
The parallel walls of the corridors are smooth, the flooring consists of concrete tiles and the respective portals of the varied coloured offices are drawn back from the wall line. Because of this the public functions are as if located with their front door to the circulation area: thus the small scale and a sense of intimacy are reinforced.
The lobby hall on the ground floor, regroups the three basic functions, firstly, the employer line, secondly the central administrative cell, which is linked with the counter and thirdly the employee line. From the reception one has a direct view on the garden as well as on the entrance hall. The offices in the left wing of the building are organised around a central patio.
The jobseeker line is organised on the ground and first floor around the central pedestrian sloped walkway, which offers a spatial and physical connection between all the functions of the building. The staff services and administrative support facilities have been situated along the slope.
Firstly the building has been modulated on a 1,25 m, grid, secondly, the circulation area was positioned asymmetrically. Due to this, a large range of possible properties and surface of spaces arises.
The lower level includes storage rooms for archives, some technical spaces, a fitness area next to a covered pedestrian ramp, and to the half open car park for 43 vehicles that is linked to 12 parking places in open air.
Photographs are by Nullens André, Kempenaers Jan and Frederik Vercruysse.