Tekst: Katoen Natie has recently had three new warehouses built in the Waasland harbour. One of these (Warehouse B) has a free span of 70 m and free height of 12.5 m, making it even ideal for use as an events hall. And that’s exactly what happened when a venue was needed for ‘Vossen’ – a cycle tour through the Waasland region based on the medieval story of Reynard the Fox. The warehouse fitted the bill and was transformed into a genuine ‘fox’s den’ for the occasion. Steel grades S235 and S355 were both used in the construction of the warehouses, with the basic structure of the front part of the ‘events hall’ comprising steel trusses and columns – a challenge in terms of engineering. The rear part is constructed in the traditional manner. The facade shell is made up of 140 mm thick liner trays with an integrated 200 mm thick glass wool insulation plate. The outside of the entire structure is clad in steel plate in the characteristic Katoen Natie ‘mushroom’ colour.
Tekst: Golfview is a contemporary residential project in Tielt-Winge with a view of the golf course. The development comprises six semi-detached near energy-neutral houses and its ambitious design was made possible by intelligent prefabrication, a revolutionary construction method in which all steel frame elements are produced entirely off site. At the heart of the project is a factory-built steel skeleton that serves as the foundation for walls, floors and roof. The offsite production of the prefabricated steel frame panels gave rise to average assembly times of 2 days per house, including windows, all exterior finishing and a large part of the interior finishing, and leaving the building services ready for connection. The houses were then fitted with acoustic and thermal insulation, the necessary cladding, a facade finish in stone strips, and windows. As well as the prefabricated steel frame panels, the building services are also supplied prefabricated.
Tekst: De Leerexpert in Brasschaat is a school for children with both motor and learning disabilities. The brief was to renovate a run-down 1950s building and add a new wing. This will be positioned diagonally across the park garden and break the old school completely open. The central yellow canopy plays a crucial role in the playground for the less mobile children. It consists of a circular canopy that adds structure to the play area. The outdoor space for the slightly more independent young adults faces the park. Its canopy suggests a panoramic transitional space between inside and outside. Both canopies – including columns, beams and profiled sheets – are made entirely of steel. The roof plane of the yellow canopy is composed of warm roof cladding bracketed together. Four slender columns carry shorter beams. The orange canopy again consists solely of columns and a roof. The connecting beam is mounted at the top and not visually prominent.
Tekst: Over the past few years, the former shipyard of Boelwerf on the De Zaat industrial site in Temse has been transformed into the new company site for Cordeel’s Temse base. The move has been a gradual transition, with a few departmental buildings being the first to be built on the 20 hectare site and the new head office putting the final piece in place. The beam-shaped building spans the former dry dock, which is strategically located on a side arm of the Scheldt. Steel, glass, reflective facade panels and boundless ambition are the ingredients making up this constructive gem. The main 11 m high building – a 108 m long structure in S355 steel consisting of two 10 m high trusses supplemented by crossbeams with cantilevers made of H-sections – rests on four steel legs around which concrete cores have been erected. The underside of the building is 14 m above ground level, so Cordeel employees can enjoy a panoramic 360° view from wherever they happen to be.
Tekst: The Vandemoortele Group’s ‘Food Experience Centre’ in Ghent has been designed as a material bank. The steel supporting structure is fully detachable, modular and adaptable, as are the curtain wall systems that envelope the building structure. The HE 280 A columns along the facade line taper upwards to HEA 180 columns on the third level, whilst the girders consist mainly of HEA profiles. Four walkways in the atrium establish a connection between the east and west facades; the largest of these in the middle has two vertical struts in the form of 60.3 x 4 mm tubular proﬁles anchored to the shed roof. The steel-plate-and-concrete floor is 11 cm high to guarantee a fire resistance of R60, and the main structure of the shed roofs is made of four-part S355 girders with a span of 18.6 m and a height of 1.74 m. For the most heavily loaded four-part girders, square K220/10 box sections were used as top and bottom rails. The vertical posts are made of square K220/8 tubular profiles.
Tekst: With an above-ground floor area of 11,348 m², including 1,858 m² of terraces, the K-Tower in Kortrijk has a very compact footprint of 480 m² but still manages to accommodate 65 apartments spread across 22 floors. Thanks to the flexible layout of each floor, the various orientations of each apartment and the large, alternating, double-height terraces, all the residential units enjoy abundant sunshine, plenty of natural light and magnificent panoramic views. The tower is eye-catching, but its reflective patchwork makes it blend into the skyline. Clad in perforated sheet metal (58% perforation, S235 and S355 grades), it reflects the sunlight, giving it a subtle radiance that stops it from being too intrusive or dominant a part of Kortrijk’s horizon. An additional advantage of the white, reflective cladding is that the facade of the K-Tower is constantly evolving and guarantees a gradual transition between the large urban scale and the more human dimensions of the landscape that stretches out around it.
Tekst: The owner of this house works in the film industry and asked us to design an original hotel that his international guests would never forget. He also wanted to create an original setting for film previews and other cultural events. Conceived as a kind of cinematic experience that catapults its occupants from one atmosphere into another, the building’s abstract nature leaves it open to interpretation and serves as an elaborate surprise that breaks with the predictable concept of the traditional hotel room. The guest house has a laminated wood structure and a profiled weatherproof steel cladding that makes the whole structure blend seamlessly into the natural environment around it. It also features a steel spiral staircase, a steel construction around the stairwell and a steel structure for the cantilevered viewing point.
Tekst: To allow production to be expanded from five to eight lines, the Zoetis plant in the Louvain-la-Neuve science park has been enlarged by a 2,500 m² extension in a similar style to the existing building. Despite spans of almost 40 metres, there are virtually no supporting columns on the ground floor. The building features three storeys: the ground floor housing the production unit, a technical mezzanine floor for circulation, and a storey under the roof, where the building services are located. The latter is integrated into the space between the roof beams in a square block. The supporting structure consists of rolled S235 sections for the edges of the trusses, floor beams and columns, and S355 sections for the diagonals of the trusses (to minimise their diameter). The steel skeleton weighs approximately 250 tonnes and the extension took around a year to build.
Tekst: After seven years of refurbishment and conversion work, the finishing touch was finally added to Oostende station: a roof. The project included the redevelopment of the tram station and parking areas, the restoration of the historic station building, the construction of a series of new platforms, and the replacement of the ageing railway platform canopies by a roof covering railway, tram and bus platforms as well as the underground bicycle storage facilities. The architects sought to recapture the original grandeur of the platform roofing by designing an 11m high translucent platform roof in colours reminiscent of the sea – blue, green, yellow and white. The interplay of light and colour filtering through this creates a warm and pleasant atmosphere. The columns of the steel structure consist of four tubes that flare out at the top. On top of the 3D-lasered tubular columns, double I-beams run in both directions.
Tekst: The provincial cultural centre in Namur was built in the early 1960s and since its renovation and expansion, which included the addition of the spectacular ‘Tambour’ theatre hall, has been known as the ‘Delta’. Magnelis steel was used to contrast with the bamboo facades and to create the large movable vertical shutters that protect the west facade from the sun. Custom perforated sheet metal (71 %) was used for all parapets, which are made of 2 mm thick galvanized steel. The ‘Tambour’ rests on a central steel column (diameter 300 mm) and twelve arms in AE355 steel (355 N/mm²), while seven peripheral columns (diameter 150 mm) absorb any asymmetrical loads. Steel has also been used for the suspension systems of the technical equipment in the various theatre halls and for a stairwell in which the stairs are supported by 2 mm thick sheet steel elements, without the need for wind bracing with diagonal struts.
Tekst: By 2022, a tram serving 23 stops will be running in Liège. The maintenance centre, washing facility, tram depot and park and ride car park to support this have been realised on the Bressoux site at one end of the route. The 4,200 m² maintenance centre comprises a steel structure weighing around 300 tonnes, with portals supporting walkways and maintenance passages. The 3,900 m² depot is 234 metres long, weighs 150 tonnes and is made up of steel girders resting on a steel column on one side and anchored to the concrete building of the park and ride car park on the other. The washing facility comprises concrete walls topped with steel columns and girders that in turn support the roof plates and glass domes. Steel parapets and walkways complete the picture. Steel was an obvious choice, not only because of its economic and aesthetic properties, but also because it is quick and easy to install.
Tekst: The old water tower in the Warandeduinen nature reserve was due for a thorough renovation, but it was still performing its original function of providing drinking water to a large part of Middelkerke. Since the region could not do without its water supply, the base was left in place, allowing the pumping station to keep on operating. In the new design, nature, sand and wind are given free rein, with a raised wooden boardwalk that transitions into a bridge limiting the impact at ground level. A new structure has been added on top of the retained base, in which an eye-catching bundle of tubes winds its way around a spiral staircase. This array of galvanized and lacquered tubes is a reference to the area’s characteristic marram grass. The blades support the spiral staircase, a rest platform and a 20 m high panoramic platform. The use of steel gave rise to light open structures that contrast nicely with the existing solid base. It also meant that the structure could be prefabricated, allowing work in the protected dune area to be kept to a minimum.
Tekst: The new elite sports hall in Louvain-la-Neuve, which serves not only as training infrastructure but also as a venue for courses and indoor competitions, is 80 m wide and 130 m long and has a floor area of approximately 10,000 m², spanned without internal support columns. The 540 tonne S355 steel supporting structure is made up of 80 m long and 14.6 m high transverse gantries and the outsides of the columns are v-shaped, reducing the number of support points and giving the structure a more ‘architectural’ silhouette. Three-dimensional trusses with a span of 80 m are incorporated in the roof. The roof structure comprises perforated sheet steel, rock wool insulation and a multi-layer waterproofing system. The facade dynamics envisaged by the architects were achieved by means of a secondary structure attached to the main structure that supports a perforated steel sheet on the inside, which in turn bears the acoustic rock wool insulation.
Tekst: The custom-built office complex and underground conference centre of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in Amsterdam, which occupies 40,000 m² and rises to a height of 80 m, was completed in record time. Since speed of construction was of the essence, the supporting structure largely consists of a fully dismantlable skeleton in S355 steel (columns and girders with bolted connections) and steel-plate concrete floors. The floors of the superstructure – sixteen storeys of office space in total – are mainly made of composite girder profiles, allowing for optimum use of the steel. A number of trusses have been integrated into the contours of the superstructure to accommodate columns, and the foundation and stability core are again made of reinforced concrete. The steel construction has been given a fireproof epoxy coating, guaranteeing a fire resistance of 90 minutes.
Tekst: Rising to a height of 220 m, the Newfoundland Tower is an imposing presence on the banks of the Thames. The 63-storey building is a built-to-rent development and includes 636 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for the rental market. The design was strongly influenced by the building’s extremely compact footprint and slender form, as well as the numerous preconditions that had to be taken into account – not least the presence of 2 metro tunnels under the building. The building has a diamond-shaped structure and ground plan, and its stability is ensured by a steel exoskeleton of inclined diagonals, with nodes every 4 floors attached to a narrow concrete core. In total, about 9,500 tonnes of steel were needed for its construction. The presence of the metro tunnels determined the design of the steel between the ground and third floors. In this zone, known as the megagrid because of its massive dimensions, the forces are transferred from the exoskeleton to the foundations around and in the vicinity of the metro tunnels.
Tekst: 70 St Mary Axe, known informally as the ‘Can of Ham’ because of its curved shape, is an office building in the City of London. Rising to a height of 90 m, it has 24 storeys and a footprint of 48 x 40 m. The load-bearing steel structure of columns and floor beams is built around a concrete core that houses all the pipes, lifts and stairs, and the steel skeleton contains almost 3,000 tonnes of grade S355 steel. The columns are a combination of UC profiles and UCs with welded-on plates; floor beams are either welded-together sheet steel girders or UC profiles. The construction technique selected for the floor – the 33,000 m² floor plates are made of 0.89 mm galvanised steel profiled sheets filled with lightweight concrete – meant that it could be walked on within a week. Each floor comprises an average of 100 structural steel elements that took on average 1.5 weeks to assemble per floor. The roof structure is made up of 5 curved composite profiles.
Tekst: Against the backdrop of a large red-and-black mosaic, the architect has drawn a wavy line on a series of thin legs to create a shelter above an existing 50 m long rostrum. The drawing is simple: a 15 mm steel sheet and 45 round steel supports, 55 mm in diameter, are arranged more or less at random on the three steps of the rostrum. The curve was optimised to prevent spread forces in the roof plate from causing buckling and the ten five-metre sections of sheet steel were bent in the workshop and invisibly joined on site using countersunk bolts in overlapping half-thickness edges. The columns have to support the top both vertically and horizontally. Because the 15 columns in the front row are located approximately in the middle of the 5 m wide canopy, they bear almost all the weight. By contrast, the columns in the back rows, which carry only a small proportion of the weight, react most rigidly to the horizontal loads and thus perform a bracing function.
Tekst: This private house in the centre of Brussels has been completely transformed by the addition of a steel extension at the rear. This 6 m high extension standing 4.5 m long and 4 m wide and weighing around 4,500 kg, was designed as a whole and includes an integral staircase. As the new building section had been prefabricated in the workshop (a process that took three weeks plus a further one week for painting) it was installed in just three hours. The pared-down construction of 5 mm sheet steel reinforced with a set of five 20 mm thick by 100 mm wide portals made it possible to optimise the additional space, and the painted steel serves not only as a visual signature of the project, but also as an inner shell. The waterproof steel cocoon also acts as a natural vapour barrier beneath the external wall insulation around it. The steel is also fully recyclable.
Tekst: This monument, built to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Ardennes Offensive in the Second World War, weighs 1.3 tonnes and stands 3 metres high and 1 metre wide. It takes the form of a memorial plate made of 50 mm Corten steel, pierced by a star-shaped perforation symbolizing the impact of a shell; this is a nod to America’s role in events. The monument is held in place by sixteen anchors cast into the concrete base. To create this memorial plaque, the 50 mm thick steel plate was treated using a burner and the hot-formed star then punched out with a 50 tonne hydraulic jack. Since the steel is a reference to the inhuman coldness of war and the use of armoured tanks, this was an operation bursting with symbolism: the impact of the shell stands for the omnipresence of violence during the struggle. The patinated surface in turn represents the ravages of time, which, to some extent, heals all wounds. Corten steel was also chosen for its durability, low maintenance and specific texture.
Tekst: To highlight the versatility of the activities that take place in the new Brussels iMAL, they are grouped around a unique void that extends over three floors and goes by the name of the ‘Aviary’. This structure in lacquered steel extends to the second floor and is clad in micro-perforated corrugated aluminium sheets that serve as both a transparent veil and a parapet. The undulation of the aluminium sheets is accommodated in the slender and lightweight supporting structure made up of seven 5,200 mm high frames measuring 3,000 mm by 100 mm (length x width). The hanger bars are matched to the corrugated metal and digitally cut out. The supporting structure was first installed between steel columns anchored in the floor, and the corrugated sheets then installed using a thousand dowels to allow for future replacement if necessary. The total length of the aluminium veil is 21 metres and all elements can be disassembled for reuse in future projects.
Tekst: The construction of a new school building for the Royal Athenaeum of Ans in the Belgian village of Alleur was accompanied by the installation of a large, strikingly shaped steel canopy, 20 metres long by 4.5 metres wide, and with an imposing mass that subtly culminates in a single support. The horizontal and vertical parts of the canopy (the roof and support respectively) are designed as a single geometry with – thanks to the concealment of assembly points, rainwater collection and drainage – an austere and almost abstract appearance. The dimensioning of the canopy is based on the principle of a welded steel portico in which the rod that serves as the canopy edge doubles up as the load-absorbing girder. This rod rests upon a variable cross-section column housing the rainwater drain and attached using invisible bolts. The white coating lends presence to the structure, whilst at the same time imbuing it with it a certain lightness.
Tekst: This former wooden chalet has been transformed into a fully-fledged contemporary single-family dwelling by the addition of an extension designed around the positioning of the surrounding oak trees. A steel skeleton forms the basic structure of the extension spaces to the left and right of the existing chalet. This is clad with sandwich panels in the wall and roof zones and then finished to a high standard with plasterboard (interior) and black oiled timber (exterior) cladding to give a refined appearance. Near the gold-coloured anodised facade, a steel truss structure was placed on slender supports to underpin the old floor and roof structure and to accommodate the new facade surface with roof spans. The steel structure incorporates around 7 tonnes of S235JR steel in sections including HE 140 A, HE 140 B, IPE270 and 50 x 120 flat steel.
Tekst: The new fire station in Leopoldsburg is beautifully situated in the town centre overlooking an attractive open lawn dotted with trees, including a protected ancient lime and oak . Its solid base structure is clad in curved, copper-coloured steel plates that blend in perfectly with the brick buildings that dominate the surrounding area. Given the nature of the building, it was essential that the design allowed for impeccable organisation and a swift exit every time. Covering the facade with steel was not only an aesthetic choice but also a sustainable and economical one, and the pre-painted steel sinusoidal profiles came with a three-layer polymer coating of primer, colour coat and varnish. Inside the station, a ceiling in white profiled sheet steel has been installed in the fire engine depot. In the entrance hall stands a main staircase made of welded steel stringers that function as a parapet and support the folded steel steps, all painted a striking zinc yellow.
Tekst: In Sweden or the Netherlands, no-one would bat an eyelid, but in Belgium a house inside a greenhouse is a bit of an oddity . The greenhouse dwelling is a 170 m2 timber-frame building encased in a 30 x 12.20 m greenhouse with a ridge height of 9 m. It’s a double-skinned house in which the outer skin – the glass greenhouse – forms a microclimate around the house and the office space. The greenhouse is a classic glass-and-steel structure (with single glass for the walls and laminated glass for the roof) that creates a microclimate within it, protecting the house and garden from the wind and weather. Everything is screwed together so the greenhouse can be completely dismantled if necessary. Ultimately, the intention is for the house to be off-grid, i.e. not connected to the public water supply, public sewer system and gas and electricity networks. This is still a work in progress, as the power requirements for the different seasons and conditions have yet to be tested.
Tekst: Goddeeris NV had been growing so fast in recent years that moving to a new location was the only option. The building programme for the company – which installs HVAC and industrial piping – included office space for management plus social areas for the entire team, a warehouse and workshop and a covered car park. This project employed steel in a variety of forms and applications: profiled sheet mounted on sandwich panels or a frame in the facade finish; frames for the mounting of the facade finish made of tubes and profiles affixed to the main structure and with faceted rounded parts; porticoes made of steel profiles as the main structure for office and workshop; trusses made of profiles and tubes for the roofing of the carport; roof deck made of profiled panels finished with insulation and roof sealing; monocoques for staircases and mezzanines in offices made of bent 10 mm steel sheets welded together on site.
Tekst: The new parking garage on the Arenberg III campus in Leuven has 8 above-ground floors and provides space for 740 cars and 210 bicycles. It is constructed as a linear car park with the ramps on the outside of the north facade and 3 circulation shafts on the south facade. The slopes on the 142 m long facade along Kapeldreef lend a touch of expressiveness and dynamism to the building. This is architecture stripped back to the essentials: an open steel structure that enters into dialogue with its surroundings. The ramps carry over three bays (22.5 m) between the horizontal surfaces that connect to the parking levels. The span of the ramps is realised using HEB800 profiles that also provide the facade finish for both the ramps and the ends of the building. The floor plates are made of profiled sheet steel and concrete floors that have been left exposed at the bottom.
Tekst: From the Lichttorenplein on the Knokke dike, it’s easy for passers-by to notice the raised lifeguard’s nest but overlook the brightly coloured structure beneath it. Although the coastal town of Knokke in West Flanders initially requested a safety pavilion on the dike, the architects stuck to their guns and insisted on a beach location. The 17 m diameter yellow shape is reminiscent of a buoy, but there’s more to it than a rescue centre. The positioning of separate spaces for the coordination and first aid rooms, the public toilets and the interview room with staff kitchen and toilets creates a public passageway or internal street that anyone can simply wander into. Like the lifeguard’s nest, the entire primary supporting structure of the bottom part is made of steel. This is supplemented by a timber construction and fibre cement panels and finished with polurea. The lifeguard’s nest sits on a hollow central tube (660 x 40 mm) that absorbs all wind loads and protects the pipework between nest and pavilion.
Tekst: The canopy serves as a fixed sunscreen for the offices and, in combination with the vertical louvres that clad the tower, largely eliminates the problem of overheating. With a free span of almost 20 m, the canopy is constructed entirely around a 3D steel frame. This was the best approach both structurally and economically, as well as being the leanest solution. To construct the canopy, L- and T-profiles were bolted or welded together in the workshop to form large sections which were then assembled on site. The entire 3D truss is supported by the round tower, and steel columns were placed in the facade to transfer the forces from the canopy to the floors. Finally, the underside and edges of the canopy were clad in sandwich panels, and an additional thin, flat cladding was fastened to the roof edges to make it blend in with the concrete walls. The top of the 3D truss was finished with steel panels, insulation, waterproofing and a green roof.
Tekst: The new provincial government building in Antwerp is a compact and sustainable construction with its own unique identity. Solidly built, but with an elegant twisted shape and distinctive triangular windows, the tower stands out against the sky but blends in beautifully with the surrounding greenery. The congress hall, auditorium and foyer are in the base of the building, half below and half above ground, and the office block has been erected on top of this transverse section like a bridge over the roof terrace. This fourteen-storey tower has twisted design that immediately catches the eye. The congress building, designed around a steel frame, has an open floor plan with large column-free spans – just what is needed for the meeting rooms, auditorium and exhibition hall. A graceful yet eye-catching steel staircase connects the different levels. On the fourth and fifth floors of the tower, three steel trusses span the low-rise conference building beneath, whilst the outer trusses are embedded in the concrete and follow the twisted contours of the building.
Tekst: From the outside it looks like an old, terraced house, but once inside you find a contemporary unit comprising a home and a studio space that function independently of each other and each have their own entrance on the street and garden side. The renovation budget was modest, so structural work was kept to a minimum: a small annex was added at the back on the ground floor, but otherwise only the connections between the existing rooms were changed to allow them to be used for their new functions. The former stairway hall made way for an impressively tall open staircase that rises from a spacious open-plan lounge. The choice of materials and detailing has been kept simple, with uniform yet sophisticated, white-painted steel forming the common thread running through all new elements. The single colour and the use of tensile steel give the interior spaces a light and airy character.
Tekst: The municipality of Houthalen wanted to build a place of farewell on each of the two Houthalen-Helchteren cemeteries. The winning design is pared right back to the essentials: a roof, columns and two walls, all made of steel and finished with two-component paint. Both of the farewell rooms are built on a concrete surface, and the chapel itself is a simple arrangement of a few slender columns, a roof and two walls in white painted steel. The curved shapes in the walls provide the building as a whole with rigidity, but also shift the roof in relation to the walls, creating openings that give the sunlight free rein to dapple the rounded walls with an ever-changing interplay of shadow drawings. The choice of steel makes the construction extra slender and gives it a delicacy that – together with the white colour – lends a sense of lightness that contrasts with the heavy emotion of saying goodbye.
Tekst: The Corelio site on the Gosset business park in Groot-Bijgaarden, just south of the Brussels Ring Road, used to be a road-side storage building. However, it had a great deal more to offer than that and is now being transformed into a multi-layered and multifunctional business park for multiple users. This work, part of a wider ecological transformation, will allow the building to excel as a versatile office space. The building has been completely stripped of its outer shell, repackaged with a well-insulated lightweight outer wall made of steel liner trays and finished with white corrugated steel sheets. Cantilevered steel boxes are suspended from the facade at a few strategically chosen places, but the most striking feature is the open steel structure on the facade. The intriguing pattern of horizontal bands clad with three types of perforated corrugated sheeting lends the building aesthetic refinement and gives rise to a fascinating interplay of light and shade.
Tekst: An existing 100 m long office building on the Noorderlaan in Antwerp has been given an extra storey of office space. Located next to the viaduct, this new structure was conceived as an interpretation of the existing industrial context and comprises a complex of fine steel porticos in different shapes that, in combination with CLT plates, give rise to three large, slightly sloping roofs. The combination of wood and steel with a total weight of 37 tonnes was an ideal choice and meant that the steel trusses could be anchored in the existing concrete structure. The new floor structure consists of steel girders on top of which a steel deck forms a substrate for the OSB and linoleum finishes. The exterior joinery is made up of a 265 m² steel curtain wall in which the vertical profiles run between the cladding, emphasizing the sense of rhythm. The steel porticos are finished with a fire-resistant coating.
Tekst: This artwork, which extends like a web across the facade of a school, is built around a series of digital ‘blob sculptures’: organic, computer-generated forms that call into question the rigidity and immobility of the architectural construction. The tension between ‘blobs and boxes’ is a common thread running through the artist’s oeuvre and has given rise to a drawing reminiscent of ivy growing organically over the building. The artist wanted to make the facade space more attractive to grab the attention of passers-by and make them curious about what goes on inside. The design was mounted on the facade of the stairwell that was already rendered in green and fitted with mounting points, to which the largely pre-assembled weatherproof Corten steel plate components have been screwed. LED lighting was added to the construction.
Tekst: This sculpture features the characteristic ‘blob’ that the artist often uses on a smaller scale. The entire oeuvre is permeated with contrasts between conventional architectural models (boxes) and virtual designs (blobs) but here the artist chooses a third way, opting for a synthesis of both. This results in forms that are removed from their virtual space and transformed back into a graphic abstraction, giving rise to a dynamic drawing that harks back to traditional graphic techniques whilst also referencing contemporary graffiti and digital design. The ultimate aim was to make the facade area more attractive and transform it into a landmark. The design was mounted on the facade of the tower where mounting points were provided at strategic places. The sheets of weather-resistant Corten steel, most of which had been supplied pre-assembled, were then screwed into place.
Tekst: RETMONER is a sculpture in lacquered steel that bursts with meaning. Inspired by the history of the city of Waregem – which translates as ‘the residence of the Waro clan’ – it draws directly on archaeological finds such as arrowheads, shards and coins from the Gallo-Roman period. The Zuiderpromenade is seen as the new gateway to the city and the artist has responded to this by positioning the sculpture like a guardian protecting an unknown sanctuary. RETMONER calls on us to take a fresh look at history, its fluid, computer-controlled forms offering a softer version of the ancient artifacts. Although its 4.4 metre height makes it seem massive, this eclectic sculpture is built from voids: like Henry Moore, the artist uses negative or empty space as a constructive force. Emptiness is an inseparable part of the sculpture, and could even be regarded as a building material in its own right. The lacquered steel plate is 10-12 mm thick.
Tekst: Alongside the Handelsdok in Ghent stands a remarkable construction: a compact building with a kind of giant steel pergola around it that forms a green outdoor room. The Melopee civic building is part of the Oude Dokken urban renewal project around Houtdok, Achterdok and Handelsdok in Ghent that has been in progress for more than 15 years. It includes a day care centre, an after-school childcare centre, a primary school and a community sports hall.When the project was conceived, it quickly became clear that the extensive programme for the civic building and the rather limited space on the site would not result in a classical school plan. A solution was found in the stacking of the various play areas, which led to the choice of an open support structure forming a steel outdoor room on the waterfront combined with a compact and rational 40 x 30 m school building on the east side of the site.For the slender outer room, the steel columns are placed on a 4 x 5 m grid to limit the span and thus keep the thickness of the concrete floor slabs down to 15 cm.
Tekst: This lighting company, which specialises in illuminating public and commercial spaces, has had its new headquarters built on the edge of a residential area. Steel predominates, and the 154-tonne steel skeleton is a reference to the saddleback roofs typical of the surrounding area. Two gantries made of hot-rolled S235 steel with a span of 12.5 metres generate various roof areas over a length of more than 100 metres, giving rise to a 22,000 m³ anthracite-coloured space for the storage and maintenance of lighting modules. An upper space made of a lightweight structure in square cross-section steel tubes protects the offices next to the industrial hall from overheating. The facades are clad in steel with three different finishes: the corrugated sheets on the roof are folded down over the facades, where they meet Corten and reflective stainless steel.
Tekst: Since the 60 m2 roof extension has a major impact on the small primary space, the architect sought out a form that minimises the volume by incorporating a kink into the front and rear facades. A rectangular living space was inscribed within this hexagon. To spread the loads, the hexagonal extension was distributed over three HEA240 sections, and the staircase arm is suspended from a fourth section. These sections were picked out in RAL2010 signal orange, with the skeleton construction appearing to weave its way between them. This over-structure extension provides an excellent starting point for great ecological and economic performance: there is no extra footprint, the foundation is recovered, the building services only require limited extension and the design also incorporates solar panels.The structure was assembled on site, but can also be disassembled and repurposed: for example for a garden pavilion. A cramped living environment has been transformed into a liveable home that grows with you, and the versatility of the structure considerably enhances its life span.
Tekst: The clients for this project were true car enthusiasts and wanted to build an industrial-themed home with enough space to store at least 4 cars. Almost the entire ground floor is dedicated to their beloved vehicles and there is also a large two-car garage, plus two covered parking spaces near the entrance. For financial and environmental reasons, a steel structure was chosen for the construction of these large open spaces and this was covered with sandwich panels comprising 15 cm PIR insulation. The roof was fitted with steel deck panels and 16 cm PIR insulation. In addition to the insulation, environmentally friendly building services such as solar panels, a heat pump and ventilation system D were also installed, helping the dwelling to achieve the required BEN rating with ease (*BEN = bijna energieneutraal (near energy-neutral). Said of a dwelling in Flanders that meets certain energy efficiency ratings (e.g. E-level of 30 or lower). Inside the house, the industrial character is further accentuated with the use of cable ducts and visible ventilation channels, resulting in an affordable and modern BEN-compatible home with an industrial twist.
Tekst: Emmaüs primary school in Aalter has been given a facelift by the addition of a colourful new building that houses a gymnasium and dining room. Above ground is a structure in S 235 JR steel with a fire-resistant coating, which rests on the concrete substructure of the gymnasium. The visible columns are placed at an angle, their rounded sections lending them a touch of elegance. The colourful facade covers approximately 230 m² and is finished in ‘JI Grégale’, a facade cladding system with connected steel slats in three different colours. These have been evenly spaced on the basis of a facade study, and are mounted on an adjustable control structure. The side walls are clad with sandwich panels coated in three different colours and the sloping roof is also finished with sandwich panels. Thanks to its roadside location, the bright red sandwich panels and the colourful slats, you are unlikely to miss this eye-catching building.
Tekst: The reception pavilion of the Gruuthuse Museum in Bruges is centrally located between the Church of Our Lady, the Gruuthuse Palace and the Stone Museum. It re-encloses the centuries-old ‘court’ and draws the site back together to form a historical whole. In this context of exceptional heritage value, the pavilion is a thoroughly contemporary construction – an exoskeleton of steel and glass – that still manages to echo the formal gothic and neogothic language of the surrounding monuments. It is designed as a folded steel structure, based upon the structural principle of the folded plate, with roof surfaces made of 6 mm flat steel and columns of 8 mm flat steel. The larger inclined surfaces of the canopy are locally stiffened with 10 mm thick welded fins whilst the vertical end surfaces take the rigidity they need from IPE 100 ribs. The elaborate detailing of the steel structure enhances the architectural expressiveness of the construction.
Tekst: Elia’s Brabo project in the port of Antwerp had two important objectives: firstly, to increase the capacity of the high-voltage grid and thereby guarantee security of supply for the entire Antwerp port area, and secondly to reinforce the north-south axis of the Belgian high-voltage grid and strengthen the international European interconnections between electricity systems. Phase II of the project called for the construction of 58 new lattice towers, including four that were very special: the P2 and P3 high-voltage pylons for the Scheldt crossing were 192 metres high, making them the tallest in the Benelux area, whilst the P4 and P5 pylons for the Kanaaldok crossing were each 142 metres high. The pylons were designed in L-profiles made of S355J2 steel with maximum dimensions of L300x300x35. The two tallest weigh 572 tonnes apiece and are made up of 15,026 pieces – the longest of which is 12 m long – fastened together with 58,987 bolts.
Tekst: The exterior of the new premises for the Dutch Royal Mint has the look of a vault, with almost no visible openings and a facetted facade inspired by the reliefs on Dutch Euro coins. The silver-gold sheets are standard profiled steel sheets (Isis 55/120-7 point profiles made of S280GD-Z225 grade steel prepainted in 50 µm Granite Silky Shine Gold) mounted on a backing structure of galvanized metal studs and angled in different directions to give a new dimension to the building. In total, approximately 62 tonnes of steel exterior cladding, 56 tonnes of profiles and 6 tonnes of flat steel for the fittings were installed on the facade. Inside the office, the courtyard and entrance are formed by a steel structure with V columns (HEA/HEB/IPE and tubes) – this took a total of 163 tonnes of grade S235/S355 steel with 802 SteelKote EP anti-corrosion protection, 2-component epoxy coating and a single 80 mu coat of RAL 9005 paint.
Tekst: The challenge for the construction of a warehouse and offices for Heylen Warehouses was to find a beautiful facade cladding in earth tones. Tata Steel delivered the goods with the colour Seren Copper, whilst the desired verticality was achieved by combining 4 types of plates of varying profile. In total, around 4,200 m² or 34.6 tonnes of cladding was installed: 2,150 m² of single-walled asymmetrical profiles mounted on underlying liner trays and the remaining 2,050 m² of cladding mounted on Galva Omega profiles. The 740 continuous metres of finishing pieces are folded from flat 0.75 mm sheets with a 60 µm prism coating and the warehouse roofing is made up of a total of 6,500 m² of 0.88 mm thick 135R steel decking weighing 72 tonnes. The only steel in the structure of the building is in the roof beams of the office building, the canopies, and the rafting structures for the roof domes. Tubes and beams are in S235JR steel.
Tekst: To make a new shop stand out from the ribbon development around it, the building was knitted into the middle of the existing block like a snake-shaped Tetris piece. It was given a typical industrial form with a slightly sloping roof, and the facade was cut out at the front. The entire upper structure including columns, girders, walls, roof and exterior panels were made of S235 steel and were delivered and assembled on site. The heavy girders for the basement cover called for care and precision. In all, more than 76 tonnes of steel were processed. The anthracite-grey JI WALL 1000 VB M facade panels were supplied by Joris Ide, as were the 0.75 mm type 106 galvanised Steeldeck roofing sheets. The roof cladding itself is made of PVC and the whole construction was fire proofed. Elongated skylights were fitted in the new roof areas where necessary.
Tekst: A new development has been built on an unassuming, almost triangular, wooded plot in an SME zone overlooking the Albert Canal incorporating a welding workshop, a landscape design office for about four people and a dwelling with loft-like feel. To highlight the activities of the welding company, a decision was made to work with exposed sectional steel and steel awnings. Although the structure of the building is actually a hybrid of concrete and steel, it gives the impression of being a pure steel construction, since the black UPN400 steel girders and columns are visible within the wooden-slatted facades. The building incorporates a total of 38 tonnes of S235 sectional steel – a choice that was driven primarily by aesthetic considerations, although the hybrid steel-concrete construction also allowed the floor and roof slabs to be kept slender.
Tekst: An existing supermarket and two adjacent houses have been demolished and replaced by a new supermarket plus a restaurant and apartments. To maximise the useful height in the supermarket whilst complying with urban development regulations, steel roof girders were installed above the ground floor. These comprised HE 300 B sections of S235 steel on concrete columns with steel decking, hyperstatically constructed with three approximately 18 m spans, 5 m apart. The columns and beams of the front facade are also made of steel. Finally, the roof and facade of the apartments were finished in weatherproof steel, and the passage on the front of the upper levels in perforated weatherproof steel panels. The weatherproof steel is mounted on steel columns and girders via a steel substructure. A total of 83 tonnes of structural steel was used in this project.
Tekst: Since the Grote Schijn pumping station is such an eye-catching feature of the landscape near the Antwerp ring road and cycle path, a decision was made to clad it in Corten steel expanded metal. To enhance the effect still further, Corten steel was also used for the surrounding fencing and two entrance gates. The main building was first fitted with a supporting structure or skeleton weighing approximately 35 tonnes and made of steel girders that had first been hot-dip galvanized and then powder coated in brown. The side walls and roof were then clad with Corten steel cassettes. Along the side of the jacks and the back, both the girders of the supporting structure and the cassettes were rounded off to increase architectural impact, and eight panel doors made of expanded metal were fitted to conceal the doors in the concrete building. Including the fencing and the gates, a total of around 1,400 m² of expanded metal was fitted.
Tekst: The TrinkHall Museum, which was created by the renovation and extension of an existing modernist pavilion dating from 1963, stands in the Parc d’Avroy in Liège. The area of the museum has now been doubled to 1,800 m2 and both the existing space and the functional extensions placed under a protective dome. Economical use of materials, compactness and energy efficiency were important considerations and gave rise to the realisation of an extremely lightweight skin in 50 mm multi-walled polycarbonate sheets. Thanks to the use of S235 steel with a span of 21 m, the building envelope has a very lightweight structure. The supporting structure has been coated in fire-resistant paint to guarantee a fire resistance of 60 minutes and the corresponding figure for the roof structure is 30 minutes. Steel was also used to finish the roof and floor edges, all internal parapets, the museum furnishings and the library.
Tekst: The municipality of Machelen needed new offices and workshops for its municipal services to replace the handful of dilapidated buildings scattered around the area. The site was centred around a compact workmen's shed, creating a circulation loop around it that provides efficient access to both the building and the surrounding fleet of cars. The efficient stacking of work sheds, garages, warehouse, canteen, changing rooms and offices gives rise to a strikingly sculptured space. The structure of the building around the stairwell and lift core comprises a steel skeleton with sandwich wall and roof panels, finished with a special sawtooth-profiled facade plate draped over the volume like a curtain of light. To provide the required second escape route for the upper floors, a large and eye-catching steel spiral staircase was installed next to the building. This also provides direct access to the refectory from outside.
Tekst: Built for Expo 58, the transit hall at Zaventem airport was an impressive feat of engineering that involved completely covering a space 100 m long, 55 m wide and 18 m high with an arch-shaped aluminium roof structure. This roof structure has now been reinforced from above to give the glorious ‘Skyhall’ a second life. A steel truss construction with the same cantilever as the original aluminium structure has been integrated into the existing roof, making it possible to retain the original roof and ceiling. The A-shaped trusses have been reinforced to support the new roof structure, which comprises 521 tonnes of S355 steel, and also carry a walkway on V-shaped steel columns flanking a monumental staircase. Three rectangular steel tubes serve as stringers, with a horizontal span of 13 m and no intermediate supports.
Tekst: Henco Industries, a producer of pipes and fittings for the sanitary and heating trade, was growing fast and needed its own distribution centre. The company wanted to make its daily operations as sustainable, efficient and innovative as it possibly could. A hybrid design made up of concrete columns and steel trusses was selected and the efficient new warehouse was built in record time close to the production plant. To reduce the number of columns and maximise the available storage space, the support columns were spaced 24 m apart, resulting in a building with a storage area of 12,510 m² capable of holding no less than 21,500 pallets. The building comprises a steel deck, sandwich panels with a concrete plinth and a super-flat concrete floor that incorporates an induction loop for forklift trucks. A total of 360 tonnes of S235 and S355 steel were used in the project, part of which was treated with fire-resistant paint to give a fire resistance of 120 min.
Tekst: Visitors to the Commanderie de Peyrassol wine estate are greeted by a number of structures in weatherproof Corten steel. The first is an impressive 36-tonne entrance canopy with a 7-metre cantilever covering a total length of 32 metres and standing 7.5 metres tall at its highest point. The canopy culminates in a spire made of simplex-shaped tube with cladding in 5 mm weather-resistant sheet steel supported only by 15 mm thick vertical stiffeners varying in height between 315 mm and 30 mm. Inside the building, the curved, 5-metre high ‘bottle rack wall’ made of reinforced 3 mm steel plates extends to a length of over 20 metres and supports the floor plate of a storage room. A gallery made up of five 8.2-metre modules in Corten steel connects the reception and tasting rooms to the vineyards. The finishing touch is provided by the monumental Templar Cross, which towers 9 m above the visitors’ car park.
Tekst: At the former military airport in Brustem, a gatehouse and new aircraft hangar symbolise the future of the fledgling drone industry. The facade and roof of the shed are both made of metal sandwich panels and form a single whole, whilst preformed steel plates are used for the curves in the ridges. The decision to use spatial steel truss structures was driven by the need for a large area free of supporting columns to stable the aircraft. The building is made up of two main volumes in the form of two porticoes of lattice girders converging on a central column. The 6,650 m2 hangar will therefore only have one central row of columns, for which a W-profile lattice structure has been chosen. The top and bottom rail are made of rolled H-profiles in HEA180 and HEA200 respectively, whilst internal members are square box sections (90/4; 100/4; 120/4). Steel grade S235 was used as standard, except for the bottom rail of the main trusses which is in S275.
Tekst: A new municipal school was to be built in Heestert with preschool and primary sections, various parts of which – for example the sports hall and dining room – were to be used intensively outside school hours. The aim was to accentuate and build upon this interwovenness with the village centre and surrounding housing in the design. Orientation was a key consideration, with careful positioning of the school building creating various outdoor spaces, each with their own identity. The southern section has been kept low to maximise lighting and the building is folded to create a view of, and sense of connection with, both the village centre and the park. The architecture strives to create a recognisable form, and steel is everywhere: in the elements of the supporting structure, the canopy, the liner trays of the sloping roofs and in the profiled steel sheet for the roof and facade cladding.
Tekst: A giant sculpture has been erected at the highest point of the Kempense Heuvelrug near Kasterlee. This permanent structure, which sits atop the 30 m high dormant land dune of the Hoge Mouw has been designed especially for the site, and comprises a faceted head made up of 2,115 welded-together 6 mm metal triangles in the form of a dome. Pieces have been cut out in places and you can walk into the hollow space within the sculpture from one side. The colossus measures 6 x 5 x 3 m and weighs around 2 tonnes, its size bringing to mind excavated fragments of sculptures from ancient times. The work thus toys with art-historical and site-specific references that spring from the extraordinary nature of the place, whilst at the same time forming a new, alien element in the landscape that fuels the creation of new myths.
Tekst: To blend in with the aesthetics of the existing architecture, a dynamic steel structure finished in expanded metal (ALU) was chosen for the bicycle pavilion on the site of the Halle Public Centre for Social Welfare. This is similar to that already in use in the Social House for the external emergency staircase and the cladding of a ventilation shaft. The steel structure was built on a concrete substructure that also carries the retaining walls for the existing slopes; the height difference and the existing slope were used to divide the building into two levels. A coarse mesh of cable in X-TEND DIN 1.4401 / AISI 316 stainless steel forms a barrier between the change in level between the lower and upper storage area, whilst ensuring that each cycle stand remains open to and visible from the other. Both areas will be equipped with lighting, security cameras, and charging facilities for electric bicycles.
Tekst: Placing a renovated, contemporary concert hall within the historic context of a thirteenth-century monument – in fact one of the first brickwork constructions to be built in Belgium – proved to be quite a feat of engineering. An inspection of the existing roof construction of Music Centre De Bijloke in Ghent indicated that it could not support the additional load of the new fly system. The challenge was therefore to design an additional supporting structure that would be concealed from view in amongst the existing roof structure. Two steel bowstring trusses measuring around 16 m in length and 5 m in height were placed between the historic wooden arches, and connected by means of box sections to which the fly system was attached. All the curves are aligned and centred on the axis of the new hall. Importantly, the subtle steel construction can be removed at a later date if required, without damaging the protected monument.
Tekst: After standing empty for forty years, the restored Predikherenklooster in Mechelen has been given a new lease of life as a city library. The monastery was built in the seventeenth century and is made up of four wings around a square courtyard. One of the biggest challenges during the restoration was the repair and reinforcement of the monumental wooden roof trusses and attic floor. The existing roof construction has a self-supporting and insulating skin on steel trusses, which are, in turn, attached to the horizontal rafters of the existing wooden roof trusses. As far as was possible, the steel trusses have been concealed to let the authentic library attic appear to its full advantage. All the other steel was also hidden from view, with the exception of the columns of the mezzanine floors. In total, the project used approximately 160 tonnes of S355 steel in the form of hot-rolled profiles.
Tekst: A slender canopy has been built on the site of the University Hospital Gasthuisberg to accentuate the central circulation hub and guide visitors efficiently to their destination. The canopy covers the large circulation deck that incorporates the staircase and lift complex, and forms an important visual landmark at the western entrance zone. Measuring 43 x 27 m, it features a fully glazed steel structure with a large overhang to the side that provides shelter from driving rain. The construction height of the canopy decreases from 1,200 mm at the columns to 200 mm at the edges. The required structure is concentrated in 30 mm thick fins in S235 steel, which lie diagonally across the plane of the canopy and are welded together at nodes to form a single 1.4 m grid. The 16.5 m columns are made of S355 steel (type 406.4/30) and house the steel pipes for rainwater drainage and cabling for canopy lighting.
Tekst: The ‘Gloire de Duras’ wine estate lies in the heart of the Belgian Haspengouw region and was originally created as an extension of a family fruit farm. The estate was looking for a contemporary design language for its wine tasting pavilion and production building. The angled positioning of the two buildings leads the access path to the estate to a funnel-shaped space that gradually reveals a view of the vineyard beyond, whilst the choice of steel as a construction material made it possible to build on the agricultural character of the site and to tie in with the existing shed. It also allowed optimal functionality to be combined with a contemporary design language that is simple, robust, characterful and elegant all at the same time. This manifests itself in two austere black buildings with an asymmetrical roof profile in which roof and facade are both completely covered with vertically ribbed steel plate. The self-supporting under-roof sheets and wind bracing used in the facades and roof remain visible from inside.
Tekst: The current mishmash of buildings that grew up organically on the premises of Stone, a wholesaler dealing in natural stone, terrazzo and ceramic tiles, was crying out for a clear sense of order. The site has been rethought and reorganised to create a functional separation between storage, production and staff areas. The new buildings (production hall, slab hall and office building) are built on a steel structure and positioned as freestanding independent spaces that conform to the laws of industrial construction. And although it is a natural stone processing company, all facades are finished with profiled metal cladding, thereby establishing a visual connection between old and new. Subtle differences in colour and degree of detailing differentiate the volumes according to their specific function. All the interiors of the various buildings are finished in the same white-painted, repetitive steel structure, which is left exposed.
Tekst: There is more to illuminating a space than simply installing light bulbs – over time the design of lighting has developed into an art form in which aesthetics and functionality go hand in hand. 100% Light’s new headquarters – a sleek, modern office building that cuts a striking figure from the ring road around Roeselare – had to emanate the same philosophy. The building is to accommodate a showroom and offices, as well as a workshop with loading docks and facilities for an overhead crane. Modern light fittings are often designed to be as slim as possible and this building is based around the same principles. It was essential to minimise the use of columns in the design of the offices and showroom so a box-in-a-box structure was chosen. This gives the impression that the office is sliding out of the shed. The steel structure, in grades S235JR and S275J0, offers the best solutions for a thin floor and slender supporting elements, and a truss structure was used to create the large span of the shed.
Tekst: The Rubens House in Antwerp was designed by Pieter-Paul Rubens early in the 17th century and is now in use as a museum. Over the years, the house’s portico – one of the two original elements and a protected heritage site – has been affected by stone erosion and weathering. To preserve the portico and protect the structure from future impacts, a discreet canopy was installed above it. This glass butterfly canopy is 15.6 metres long and weighs 30 tonnes. Its underlying structure comprises three bays made of bead-blasted stainless steel, which were positioned on the 12 metre high portico using a crane. After the bays were installed, they were anchored to the columns of the porch and then filled with lead to give the canopy the necessary strength and wind resistance. The structure features custom-made plinths for the statues, and the laminated glass sheets are clamped between unique stainless steel clamping profiles.
Tekst: A tearoom on the edge of the Zoete Waters in Oud-Heverlee dating back to the 1950s has been given a new lease of life as a wellness centre and luxury holiday home. The existing building was topped with steel porticos and wooden joinery before being clad with weather-resistant steel. Near the bedrooms, the weatherproof steel cladding features a specific perforation pattern that allows light to enter without compromising privacy, whilst also emphasizing the geometry of the building. An image of a birch forest has been laser cut onto the side, behind which the ventilation facilities are hidden. Because of the weight of the addition, combined with the fact that the existing bungalow had weak foundations and lightweight load-bearing walls, the superstructure is made of HEA-section steel gantries. The weatherproof steel blends in perfectly with the surrounding nature and ensures seamless integration into the landscape.
Tekst: <p>If it weren’t for the blast furnaces and a few other historical relics from ArcelorMittal, you wouldn’t know that Belval was ever an industrial site. In the heart of the ‘Cité des Sciences’, the architectural firm Valentiny hvp has transformed an old 110 metre long ‘Möllerhalle’ into a contemporary university library, which opened its doors at the start of academic year 2018-2019. The original steel supporting structure of the building was preserved, treated and reinforced so that the complex could be given a new facade and composite roof. The unique synergy between old and new gave rise to a masterpiece that earned the project both the jury and audience prizes in the Steel Construction Competition 2019.</p>