Situated near Ghent, between the Leie and Schelde rivers, the De Prijkels business park is home to over 60 thriving businesses and continues to expand under the guidance of Veneco.
To create a distinctive entrance for this flourishing estate, KAAN Architecten has joined a consortium led by developer Steenoven and contractor Alheembouw, along with DENC-studio, DELVA Landscape Architects and artist Paul de Kort.
The Flemish Valley, depicted in centuries-old maps as a mosaic of agricultural fields and wooded lots, seeks a renewed identity through landscape features, specifically small wooded plots with significant ecological value. The master plan for the Poort project places great emphasis on integrating with the historically significant surrounding landscape.
As a result, the three buildings converge around a captivating land art installation called Het Karrenspoor, created by Paul de Kort. This artwork revives the elliptical tracks of the historic cart road within a field, resembling the shape of wheat.
The tracks are carefully maintained through regular mowing, and a path runs through the field, bordered by latticed screens that offer dynamic views reminiscent of wheel spokes. Unlike typical closed-box industrial buildings, the Poort ensemble stands out with its predominantly transparent design.
The buildings feature floor-to-ceiling glass facades and wooden galleries along their perimeter, providing an exceptional viewpoint to admire the changing colors of the surrounding landscape throughout the seasons. The dark-stained oak cantilevers extend further on the sun-facing sides, serving as both terraces and structural sun protection.
Solar control glazing is employed to regulate heat gain and optimize natural light. Slender columns and central circulation cores ensure unobstructed views on all floors and allow for future adaptability. The structure’s high thermal inertia also contributes to temperature regulation.
The ground floors feature spacious double-height halls that serve as meeting areas and entry points, fostering interaction among occupants through open sightlines and interconnected spaces. The new buildings cater to the needs of businesses on the estate, offering various office facilities and employee amenities such as child daycare, a bank, a fitness centre, and other commercial services.
Each building incorporates underground parking facilities on two levels, repurposing excavated earth to create adjacent slopes adorned with natural greenery, including diverse trees and shrubs that enhance the area’s landscape.
The lush greenery not only enhances the well-being of employees but also serves as a natural carbon sink, absorbing nearly 16.5 tons of CO2 annually. The project also uses soil as temporary energy storage through ground heat exchangers. Meanwhile, the roofs are equipped with photovoltaic installations to generate renewable electricity and are also used for greywater recovery.
Image © KAAN Architecten
Runoff is managed by integrating wadis as above-ground bio-retention systems, contributing to ecological balance and efficient water usage. Poort van de Prijkels transforms an anonymous intersection into a welcoming zone while ensuring continued access to the business estate.
The project prioritises using renewable resources, minimising energy requirements, and rationally managing surplus demands, leading to a BREEAM Excellent score. With their height and functionality, the buildings create a distinct entrance area while preserving a serene pastoral environment with dedicated green paths for pedestrians and cyclists. #Source by KAAN Architecten.
Image © KAAN Architecten
Location: Karrewegstraat, Deinze, Belgium
Architect: KAAN Architecten
Local Architect: DENC-STUDIO, Gent (BE)
Landscape Architect: DELVA Landscape Architects, Amsterdam (NL)
Landscape Artist: Paul de Kort, De Meern (NL)
Sustainability advisor: DENC-STUDIO, Gent (BE)
Structural, MEP, building physics and fire safety engineer: BM Engineering, Kortrijk (NL)
Mobility advisor: Suunta, Leuven (BE)
Acoustics advisor: Bureau De Fonseca, Waregem (BE)
Safety coordinator: VeCoBo, Waregem (BE)
Developer: Steenoven, Roeselare (BE)
Contractor: Alheembouw, Roeselare (BE)
Client: Veneco, Destelbergen (BE)
Program: offices, shops, daycare, fitness centre, bank, parking
GFA: 22.750 m2 + 15.000 m2 parking
Design phase: 2023
Images: Courtesy of KAAN Architecten