The small-town context can just as well involve large-scale tasks. Roeselare town council’s bold decision not to demolish a former parcel depot on the shunting yard that flanks the town centre provides a perfect example. It features an exceptional construction in which slightly curved laminated wooden beams span a breadth of almost 60 metres between two load-bearing longitudinal outer walls. Designed by head engineer D. Demonie for the national railways, the constructional logic of the depot is remarkably simple, lavish in scale and highly formal in the composition of portal frames and trusses. Thanks to the efforts of the designers BUUR and Nero architects, amongst others, the site was not divided into plots, but reused as a democratic public space — one that allows plenty of scope for the unusual.
This text is based on an article by Ward Verbakel, published in Flanders Architectural Review N°12: Tailored Architecture.