In 1991, Coca-Cola called this shed home to one of its celebrated soda making factories in Belgium. Today, the 20 year old factory has been re-invented into a luminous landscape of clouds by Carlos Orroyo Arquitectos. A few years back, the Civic Center in Oostkamp acquired the building and funded an architectural competition to turn the space into a public administrative center for a network of towns nearby. "We decided to reuse the spacious industrial shed; not just to recycle materials like the steel, but to reuse the space itself, it's foundations, enclosure, services, access, and all the "invisible" parts; and to turn it into a series of abstract clouds; a sheltered public space within a controlled weather environment," The architects explained.
This functional, sustainable, and creative approach to the project is what led to Carlos Orroyo Arquitecto's winning of the competition, and the eventual realization of Oostcampus. The outside of the boxy blue warehouse is cleverly juxtaposed with large circular windows, which stem from the ground and circle upward to mimic the abstract white cloud design on the interiors ceilings.
To follow suite with the sustainable ideology behind the projects concept, a covered bicycle parking lot was created that resembles the likes of trees and promotes visitors and employees to ride their bikes.
The architects noted that they "decided to reuse the spacious industrial shed; not just to recycle materials like the steel, but to reuse the space itself, it's foundations, enclosure, services, access, and all the "invisible" parts; and to turn it into a luminous landscape of clouds; a sheltered public space within a controlled weather environment."
"It is not uncommon to underestimate the value of all these "invisible" parts of a building," the team explained, "this is combined with a far-reaching transformation of the interior."
Shell structures have been used for almost one hundred years now, making it very easy to build them as a very thin layer; in the case of Oostcampus, they will be in GRG, only a few millimeters thick in the highest points, weighing a mere 7 kg/m2.
Building the cloud shell within the weatherproof industrial shed simplifies the demands - inflatable form work simplifies the building process. It creates a fascinating landscape for very little energy.
The openings among the clouds are equipped with simple devices that transform all kinds of weather conditions into wonderful events. The strong winds of the outside are transformed into electricity that feeds a disc of LED's, an artificial sun that will bring joy to, for instance, wedding days!
Photography: Miguel de Guzmán