Provincial Headquarters, Antwerp, Belgium
A new building replaces a complex that took up the entire site, was too tall and could not be adapted to today's sustainability standards. Since there are few public green spaces in the center of the city of Antwerp, a crucial requirement was already part of the competition: connecting fragments of public green space in the surrounding area in favor of a larger, contiguous public park.
The new building is designed as a bridge structure. In the center of the plan, a large steel truss spans from one core to the other. By rotating the plan around one of its corners, the building shifts toward the center as it rises in height, forming a sculptural form. Trusses, integrated into the concrete side walls, provide the shape of the window openings through their triangulation. The tall triangular windows, applied throughout the building, prove to be very efficient, bringing a lot of daylight to the ceiling and into the depth of the space.
The opaque facade is covered with round white glass mosaic. Only about 40% of the facade consists of glass, which is beneficial for energy efficiency. Summer thermal protection is ensured by a solar control coating and a semi-transparent interior sunshade.
The heat or cold is generated by 350 geothermal borehole heat exchangers under the parking garage and a heat pump. The rooms are tempered by radiation to minimize air conditioning. Vertical ventilation routing was minimized by placing a decentralized, adjustable ventilation unit on each floor. This reduces pressure losses in the mechanical ventilation and ensures low energy consumption for ventilation.
Workspace is distributed among offices, auditoriums, conference and meeting rooms, the 58 m / 190 f tall building is nearly energy-neutral and in this respect one of the largest in Belgium. The property was rated "excellent" according to the international BREEAM certification system.