Motstraat Offices

feasibility study
A proposal for a small freestanding office building utilises a timber structural system to create large interior spaces with a warm feel, proving that flexibility and functionality need not lead to a sterile work environment.
Location

Mechelen
Belgium

Year
2015
Status
study

An empty corner plot in a new business park sits alongside a canal in the periphery of the city of Mechelen. Our design for a modestly sized office building of about three thousand square metres takes advantage of this location. We raise the building half a floor to minimise cut and fill operations, making room for a half-sunken car park level with natural ventilation and ample daylight. This creates two entrances into the building. A short ramp slopes down half a level for cars to reach the car park. At the canal-side the landscape is raised to provide a more formal acces to the raised ground floor: from here one can get views of the canal over the adjacent street.

Structural Warmth

The elevated ground floor effectively functions as a sort of bel étage. It sits on the concrete parking structure, which emerges like a half-exposed podium from the landscape. This solid base provides the foundation for the lightweight wooden structure of the upper floors: a straightforward orthogonal grid composed of cross-laminated timber beams and columns. The use of CLT for the  structural system obviously contributes to the sustainable nature and carbon-saving properties of the building. The wooden surfaces and columns give a soothing character to the interiors, infusing them with a warm zen-like calm.

Design concepts

Associated themes