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Callens & EMK
goedefroo + goedefroo architecten – Belgium
Founded in 1990 by Sven and Gunnar Goedefroo, the firm represents the third generation of the family in the construction industry. The Belgian office goedefroo + goedefroo architecten has been producing award-winning spaces since 1990, but
in recent years their work has also become notable for its outstanding results regarding sustainability. Goedefroo + goedefroo’s focus on sober architecture ties in nicely with their innovative attention to a small footprint.
The Callens & EMK building, consisting of a 22 000 square- meter production hall and an office block, won the 2011 IPB Challenge (industrie- en projectbouw), a competition between architects who specialize in innovative green design for office and school buildings. The building was commissioned by Callens & EMK, which chose a strategic and highly visible location along one of the busiest highways in the country, the E17. Goedefroo + goedefroo turned what could have been considered a problem into an advantage, making it an essential aspect in the building’s creation. Factoring in issues such as traffic motion, speed, and noise, the challenge was to make a static object like a building enter the sweep of passing traffic.
Can a building participate in motion?
What is the attitude of a building relative to the noise that traffic produces?
How anonymous are those working in the building and those speeding by?
Should those inside join the rush on the road or should they let it pass by?
The Callens & EMK building provides protection, privacy, and intimacy, while its stainless steel skin opens like gills, necessary for the “oxygen” provision. On the outside, these gills create a look that constantly changes as one passes by. Inside, the gills allow a tunnel vision following the flow of the departing traffic, which creates privacy and a less stressful visual of the traffic. But goedefroo + goedefroo also added more than a flash of sustainability to the building, by extensively using Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). When designing the concept, integrating all project partners leads to sustainable economic decisions in the early stages. This method requires more preparation, but soon leads to shorter construction times, limited use of raw materials, and a flexible and comfortable building.
Furthermore, by optimizing the production and functional organization of the client, the footprint of the building was reduced by 20% compared to the initial concept. Goedefroo + goedefroo’s innovative take on an intelligent symbiosis between architecture and techniques in terms of sunlight minimization, (rain)water recirculation, use
of concrete structures for energy storing, etc., creates sustainability which also results in optimum comfort in light, temperature, acoustics, and multifunctionality.

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