De Felix 2019-2022
The Gentbrugge Service Centre, designed by Paul Felix and situated on the edge of the Gentbrugse Meersen, consists of three buildings that have been meticulously interlinked in a composition that gives each building a certain autonomy.
The design for the transformation proposes interventions that transform the character of the site from an administrative building to an urban building where the meeting of different users are central. Each building is crowned with an extension – a dance hall, an office space, and a rooftop playground. Felix’s intention to allow flowers and plants to grow on the deep balconies is renewed. Inside the building, all parts of the programme are given an address to a public circulation space. The library forms the pivot of the ground floor and is surrounded by open work niches that strengthen the contact between different users.
A fourth building – the spectacle hall – is added to the composition, which is thus completed into an all-sided cluster in the open space and which, together with the adjacent buildings, encloses an inner courtyard. New concrete façade elements are arranged in a rhythm that matches the rhythm of the existing building. The slender panels bend according to a tectonic logic that represents the new construction phase.
The design places a radical trust in the generous spaciousness offered by the buildings and expands it into a new ensemble.