Environmental focus on a sustainable driven design
The new corporate headquarters of a contemporary company is not merely a commercial statement or a striking volume. It should rather be a connective building that enters into a relationship both with its users and its environment. Such a synergy was also sought for the new headquarters of CIPAL (Centre for Informatics of the Province Antwerp and Limburg). This integral approach is centred around man and the environment.
The building is located on a newly created 'park axis'. Its components are arranged around an enclosed garden. At the centre of this garden, the foundation of an existing building is transformed into a pond. The other outdoor spaces, some of which are lowered, are situated around this pond.
The headquarters has a clear structure, ranging from public to private. The cafeteria and auditorium, the most public areas of the building, are located along the park axis. The central area consists of meeting rooms. Together, these constitute the so-called 24-hour zone, which can be used separately from the office area. Access to the zone bordering on the ring is restricted to employees. It is an efficient stack of office floors, allowing the creation of both open-plan offices and traditional offices.
In architectural terms, the building makes a gesture towards the Ringlaan. This southern façade, exposed to noise and sunlight, will be built as a semi-closed shell, which embraces the green roof of the 24-hour zone. In addition to the energy-related aspects, this design choice creates an oasis in the enclosed garden. Circulation is always on the outside of the building. Where circulation and park axis cross, is the logical reception area of the building.
The new CIPAL headquarters is both performance-driven and embedded, and thus the ultimate expression of the social role of a contemporary company.