Ryhove Ghent 2014-2018
After decades of gradual expansion, the sheltered workshop’s precincts have evolved into a tangled and inefficient conglomerate. Strings of sheds and offices have been built without any underlying master plan. Buildings show signs of decay. The company owns a decrepit production site in the middle of a residential area.
Two options remain: leave the site in favour of a brand new and efficient building in an industrial area on the city outskirts, or accept the challenge of re-organizing the existing site. The choice falls on the second option. Parts of the existing complex are demolished to make room for a new building. Its purpose: restructuring the site, organizing logistics and allocating supplementary office, parking and workshop space.
The site revolves around the loading and unloading area. Here, finished products – the fruits of labour – are picked up for delivery. This place, where goods come and go, is not hidden towards the back of the precincts. Instead, it is located in the very heart of the company. The building’s focal point coincides with an open space. Workplaces are rearranged and renovated so that they dovetail into the new organization. The site has been transformed into a well-functioning ensemble.
The building’s structural elements – prefabricated concrete columns and CLT panels – are pushed out to the perimeter, thus engaging them in an active dialogue with the context. A bay measuring five metres, the size of a small terrace house, articulates a rhythm to the street façade. The building is topped off with a familiar gabled roof, multiplied across the street’s length, bestowing industrial allure upon the building. Inside, the large scale recedes. The workplaces and meeting rooms are once again tailored to the size of a terrace house.