Implementing an extensive renovation, TRANS has transformed a former cotton bale warehouse into a central meeting place for the UCO site. One of the design challenges was to leave the brick façade intact. Through cleverly placed skylights and vistas into other interior spaces, the architects have managed to let in natural light everywhere. Only the façade adjacent to the social company restaurant has a full-length glass strip that overlooks the green surroundings. The ground floor houses a well-equipped kitchen with a company restaurant that also serves as a social restaurant and function room. It is a true meeting place for locals and people working on the UCO site. In the restaurant, which occupies approximately half the building, the architects have retained the original height of the warehouse. The other half of the building accommodates the rest of the building programme, i.e. training rooms, conference rooms and a career centre spread across 3 storeys layered within the existing warehouse. The architects have added a 4th floor on the roof, in the shape of a mirrored aluminium structure. They have retained the atmosphere of the existing cotton warehouse with subtle but impactful design decisions, whilst at the same time delivering contemporary, high-quality architecture.
This project was opened on the occasion of the 2019 Day of Architecture. The text is based on a contribution by Lisbeth Decloedt.