Exposed essentials, refurbishment of an office floor

Archi­tecture Interior design

New ways of working - NWOW City life

In this listed building at the 'Quays' of Antwerp an NWOW office space is organized. The interior of an office floor is stripped from all its excess elements, generating a completely white canvas. Finishes in black steel and natural wood add up to a warm and contemporary atmosphere, that is in contrast with the exposed technical pipes and ducts.

Full text

The well known Hansa House, one of the first office buildings of Antwerp is situated at the corner of Ernest Van Dijckkaai and Suikerrui. This icon at the river Scheldt was designed by architect Jos Hertogs between 1897 and 1901 with its facades being decorated with mythological figures representing the god of trade Mercurius designed by the famous sculptor Jef Lambeaux. The building was listed as a protected monument in 1981.

Throughout the last decades the Hansa House has been extended, parceled out and divided into several office units on the upper floors. Because of this the building presents itself with a great lack of unity and is completely worn down at the moment.

Exposed Essentials

With the commission for the refurbishment of the third floor VIVA Architecture wants to return to the noble spirit of this once majestic ‘mansion’. At the backside parasite extensions were demolished and the building volume restored in its original state allowing daylight to filter deep into the courtyard and the offices. An outside terrace is organized on the roof.

By removing all superfluous and redundant elements on the inside as well as introducing a new open plan, layered transparency and improved exposure to daylight, the interior shows its full spatial quality and potential as a contemporary working space.

The office floor is organized as a free field with different types of plug-in working places. Diverse and flexible working arrangements are possible: desk cluster, standing work station, informal meeting point, central meeting space, concentration hub, outside work spot…

The new office is designed as a horizontal self-organizing collaborative network environment with open and transparent communication. This ‘exposed essentials’ concept is furthermore translated by use of authentic materials like steel and wood and the network of pipes and conduits applied visible in the space. WYSIWYG - What you see is what you get.

Location : Antwerp
Area : 250 m²
Date : 2015
Client : RPD - Retail Property Development
Photography : Koen Broos

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