The program for the conversion of an old mill along the canal in Anderlecht combines a centre for Small and Medium Enterprises and an “interpretation centre”. An innovative restoration approach has been used as a form of ecological recycling and cultural sustainability for the re-valuation of the industrial heritage:
– The elements of the program are not considered as fixed “spaces” or “buildings”, but rather as evolving “projects” in constant interaction with each other.
– Time (and therefore change) rather than space is taken as the main context of architecture. Flexibility and permanent adjustability therefore become key qualities.
– The project interacts on both local and supra-local levels and presents a low threshold towards the neighbourhood and the city.
The two existing listed buildings are stripped and used as large flexible containers. In between these two – within a “light architecture” shell – all the ancillary functions are inserted: stairs, elevators, techniques, service space, etc. On the ground floor, the open plan reception and administration spaces link the project to the neighbourhood. A panoramic roofscape including a restaurant, a roof garden and terraces, functions as a lighthouse along the canal and a landmark that links the site with the city.