42 OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen

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OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen . photos: © Bas Princen

This industrial building, part of the infrastructure for a large tree plantation in Brabant, sits in the middle of fields of potted plants of varying scales; its main purpose is a space to dry potted plants twenty-four hours before distribution.

This building is the most extreme and simple incarnation of a big box: a building envelope removed from anything even vaguely referring to function—a true building without content. The process for drying plants requires currents of air to enter but meanwhile protection from rain; therefore the building is designed as a perforated perimeter with a closed roof. The perforations give the viewer the impression of an almost nonexisting building, a building through which one can still see the silhouettes of plants temporarily stored, a building that does not land in the ground but floats in space. Its simple geometry—the result of two colliding straight-angled triangles—gives the building multiple appearances from different vantage points. It sometimes appears box-like, sometimes a perforated plane. The interior of this simple yet massive structure is constructed of hybrid laminated wood beams, painted white, and steel columns, whose rhythmic placement sets the spatial experience.

Location: Herselt, Belgium
Architects: OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen
Design Team: Kersten Geers, David Van Severen, Michael Langeder, Jan Lenaerts, Michele Zanuso, Sophie Florence Wallis
Design years: 2011 - 2012
Construction years: 2012 - 2013
Structural engineers: UTIL Struktuurstudies
Built surface: 2.237 m2.

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