Today we rediscover the BigMat Finalist in Belgium’21, a project that proposes a traditional volumetry whose codes are reinterpreted in a neo-vernacular approach, transcending the ancestral construction principles of the silvicultural halls of the region.
In a rural area where agricultural sheds are part of the landscape, the project tends to return to this typology by reinterpreting its tradition in a neo-vernacular approach. The large size of the project, summoned by its use, becomes a singular silhouette on the scale of the site.
The sidings are made of polycarbonate that plays on the ambiguity of transparency and reflection; its presence is experienced both from the inside and the outside like stained glass.
Hangar à Selin Houffalize, Belgium, by GoffartPolomé Architectes
BigMat Finalist Prize in Belgium’21
Architects: Goffart-Polomé Architectes
Area: 430 m²
Photographs :Antoine Richez
Manufacturers : Centrale Houffalize, EUGEN DECKER, HDS Steel
Structural Engineer : Ney & Partners
Project Leader : Brice Polomé
Architecture Drawing/ Conception : Marie Maerckx
General Contractor : TS CONSTRUCT
City : Houffalize
Country : Belgium
Glowing like a reassuring lantern, the building comes to life on stormy winter nights on the rhythm of the working vehicles. The wooden structure is a natural response to the aggressive environment of a salt storage and resonates with the forestry character of the region.
Located in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes, in a rural setting where coniferous forests and agricultural clearings punctuate the landscape, the salt shed project tends to echo the agricultural warehouses structuring the horizon. Thus, the project approaches a traditional volumetry whose codes are reinterpreted in a neo-vernacular approach, transcending the ancestral construction principles of the silvicultural halls of the region.
The important size of the project summoned by its use becomes a singular silhouette on the scale of the site. Thus, the materiality softens the impact of the hangar on the horizon, working on the transparency of the elevation. The facades are adorned with polycarbonate in a diaphanous approach playing on the ambiguity of its transparency and its reflection: its presence is experienced both from the inside and from the outside like a stained glass window.
At night, as snow sweeps across the plains, the building comes alive and acts as a reassuring lantern in the darkness. In the middle of the storm, the building lights up with the ballet of dispersal vehicles.
From the constructive point of view, the project reveals itself spontaneously in a frugal sincerity – a hangar is above all a protected structure. Entering into resonance with the silvicultural character of the region, the wooden structure is revealed both inside and outside, reinforcing the integration of the project in its context. In addition to this architectural bias, wood also refers to a practical response. Indeed, its natural properties make it less sensitive to an environment as aggressive as that of the storage of spreading salt.
In the end, this project tries, with humility, to offer a building that transcends its simple functionality. A bright and pleasant space paying real attention to spatial quality, too often set aside in industrial design. However, this simplicity is not shared by all. Probably due to a lack of confidence in the natural resistance of wood, the client proceeded to seal the outer envelope of the building using an epdm membrane and profiled steel sheet. To believe that offering an alternative to the traditional shoebox was inconceivable…