Melopee civic building
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.