Vandenborre Architecten was chosen from a selection of ten emerging architectureofficesin Belgium for the design of a new building for the Christian Mutuality (CM), an important institution for health care.
The main requirements? A building that breathes the spirit of the institution: solid, not fancy. And in a style that suggests that the building has ‘always been there’.
The 6000 square meter building plot is situated in the centre of a new office district and had to become the organizing volume for the development of smaller offices in the neighbourhood.
Driven by the scale of the project our office worked out several proposals to design a complex that is elegant yet simple to build.
We found inspiration in the iconic Maloja Hotel in Switzerland. This imposing and classic volume has such an embracing wave in the landscape and is a place full of memories, where many Flemish youngsters spent the winter holidays, learning to ski, which links in with CM’s side activities.
From the very beginning, we worked together with Sweco Architects who have the specific know-how to maximize the logic of a building ofthis size.
The first plans we created were stapled landscapes with openings for terraces and rooftop gardens. We wanted to get nature and open spaces close to the people who work in the office. The floors are completely open and have a 360° view.
Two tubes with technics, toilets and vertical circulation, – in the middle of the building – organise the floors. The office spaces are situated along the windows of the building, while meeting rooms, archives, etc. are brought to the center.
Because of the different functions – with public space on the ground floor and offices on the first and second floors – we wanted to create different tones in the façade. The ground floor is a composition of accurately positioned brick walls and glass surfaces. The upper floors are like a membrane of bronze aluminium slabs and underlying glass panels. By using depth in the facade we created a building that is figuratively breathing and playing with shadow and light. It gives a nod to the Maloja building with its solid, massive soccle and its textured façade.
In the meantime, all construction plots have been assigned a destination, the CM project is embedded as a mother ship in a landscape with smaller volumes, each with its own DNA.