Kantoren Joker Toerisme Mechelen
Close to the station of Mechelen, on the bank of the Leuvense Vaart (a canal), Joker Toerisme purchased a building complex in which to establish their head office. The largest part of the ensemble was demolished; the back section comprised a rational concrete structure in good condition, with an attractive double-height space. While the latter was renovated, a design was created for a new building on the street side. A small car park and/or a recreational space were carved out of the inner area. The use of a single material for the facades brings unity to the complex.
The entrance and the vertical circulation are strategically positioned between the old and new volumes, and serve the various office buildings. This layout enabled the creation of a patio as way of organising access and circulation in a clear and compact way.
A combined system of night cooling and hygienic ventilation draws in fresh air during the day and cools the building in hot weather. The system is connected to a weather station, and a weekly programme manages the internal climate.
As in other projects, the raw structure was devised and detailed so it could be utilised as the final building. This strategy allowed us to keep the price per m2 low, and also resulted in the use of fewer materials and man-hours during the construction phase. We therefore created an economical building without sacrificing quality, adjustability and durability. The last term gains even greater meaning through this methodology, since the building fully meets the clients needs but keeps all possibilities open for later generations.
The furniture, designed by Toon Heyndrickx in steel and polyethylene, adds colourful accents to the interior.
Architecture Night 2007, Flanders Architecture Institute, nomination
‘Headquarters Joker Toerisme’ (Collection: Offices, Braun Publishing, June 2010)