Extension to existing office space
Ghent, Frans Ackermanstraat
The extension to Optima Global Estate’s offices runs along the plot boundary and the building line of the Frans Ackermanstraat with a cornice rising gradually from the Gebroeders Van Eyckstraat. The listed building with its own private upstairs chapel juts perpendicularly from the Keizer Karelstraat across the site to form part of the overall expansion project. The chapel formed a focal point for the project and was set in the spotlight, both literally and figuratively.
The expansion project was conceived as two segments:
A transparent/semi-transparent block on the street side with a cornice height of 10 m housing office space and a solid enclosed technical plant building forming the circulation space between the new and existing spaces
The front building’s transparency allows passers-by to make contact with the massive rear building clad in red terracotta tiles, as well as with the existing building and its private chapel on the second floor. A dialogue is established between the existing listed brick building and the new contemporary steel building, i.e. a dialogue between past and present. A green roof has been planted around the private chapel so that the chapel is completely in open air. The green roof forms the chapel’s new ground level. A residential unit with a loft-like ambiance has been built on the top floor of the existing building with chapel. The combination of contemporary, semi-transparent architecture with an existing listed building upgrades and accentuates the chapel, and simultaneously strengthens the entity’s overall function in the street.
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