In Maasmechelen, noAarchitecten have built Ecotron for the University of Hasselt: a greenhouse and research facility for studying the impact of global warming on biodiversity in the Kempen region. Here, a range of plants will be studied under scientifically controlled conditions. The technological requirements for the simultaneous maintenance of twelve different ecosystem atmospheres are extremely stringent. NoAarchitecten opted for a spatial structure that conforms to the rational organisation of the technical equipment in the building. This resulted in a simple linear series of identical climate rooms along a corridor. Nothing can be left to chance, neither the humidity and temperature, nor the ingress of light. Each climate room has an identical translucent dome through which the light enters in a controlled manner. (...) The laboratory, located in the Hoge Kempen National Park, is directly linked to the landscape where the plants being examined normally flourish. NoAarchitecten opted for a shell that keeps the two atmospheres thoroughly separate. The long, rectangular volume is clad with slender vertical bands of polished stainless steel. As a result, the mass of the building is concealed inside a mirrored box that reflects the surrounding trees and bushes and, in so doing, seems to completely disappear.
Birgit Cleppe - Excerpt from Flanders Architectural Review N°13. This Is a Mustard Factory