Scheepvaart Workshop in Schoten, Belgium by Loos Architects and HUB
The following text and images are courtesy Loos Architects for their design (with HUB) of a Workshop Building for Dienst Scheepvaart.
The workshop building is located in a context of sculptural industrial buildings along the Albertkanaal, a canal connecting the cities of Antwerp and Luik. Our task was to design an inexpensive building that houses an extraordinary multitude of functions: a concierge apartment, an office space, a meeting room, a cafeteria, changing rooms, a wood workshop and a metal workshop, a garage and an outside storage space.
In order to keep the plot free of clutter, we decided to integrate the storage zone into the volume, literally increasing the substance of the workshop building. The required fence around the plot "shrinks to fit": Instead of encircling the whole plot, it becomes a protective skin for the building. In fact it forms an inexpensive facade with an intriguing moire effect, through which its black hypodermis, consisting of insulation material, remains visible.
Inside, the workshops and storage spaces are situated in the body and tail of the building, while the more complex functions are fittingly located in its head. An incision marking the main entrance splits the head into two: one part facing the west and containing the cafeteria and office space, the other facing the south and housing the concierge apartment which has a loggia looking out over the canal.
The result is a beast-like structure that can easily compete with its older neighbors when it comes to sculptural shape and recognizability.