SANGO Blood Centre
The Blood Service of the Red Cross-Flanders handles the collection, testing, and supply of blood for use in hospitals. The Red Cross wants to centralize all its services concerning the collection, processing, storage, and distribution of blood in a new building beside its headquarters in Mechelen. With the new building, the Red Cross kicked off the redevelopment of the Ragheno site, an ambitious urban regeneration project on the former workshop grounds behind the railway station.
The building houses all the laboratories needed to process the blood, as well as the central administration office, a storage facility with refrigeration and freezer units, and a healthcare library. The building also serves as a central reception point for the entire Red Cross site. As a result, it also performs an important public and representative function.
Surprising play of light
The structure of the building is clear and immediately recognizable. It resembles a large bookend, with a horizontal and a vertical volume. The vertical block houses the offices and labs. The layout is generic and flexible, enabling the building to grow with the organization’s changing needs. The horizontal block consists of a closed base containing the storage area and the healthcare library. Above the base, on the first floor, the public area has a multipurpose reception room, a cafeteria, and a blood donation room. The pleated roof structure with its skylights creates a surprising play of light on the clean white walls and warm wooden floors in the public section.
The project was the second building in Belgium to be awarded the BREEAM sustainability rating of ‘outstanding’.