Discover Benelux | Tailored Architecture in Flanders | Sustainability, Innovation, and Craftsmanship
LEFT: De Warande Turnhout - Architecten Achtergael with Stéphane Beel - client: Provincie Antwerpen. Photo © Filip Dujardin. TOP RIGHT: Waterbouwkundig Labo Borgerhout - Architecten Achtergael – client: Vlaamse Overheid. Photo © Nanopixel. RIGHT: Dungelhoeff Lier - Architecten Achtergael – client: Solag, Matexi, Cordeel. Photo © Filip Dujardin. BELOW RIGHT: Villa V in T - Architecten Achtergael with Stéphane Beel - client: private. Photo © Filip Dujardin. BOTTOM RIGHT: Groen Kwartier Antwerpen - Architecten Achtergael with Stéphane Beel - client: Vanhaerents, Matexi. Photo © Toon Grobet
Architecture as a ‘positive virus’ TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN
With a mileage of 25 years, Ghentbased Architecten Achtergael is a steady name in the Belgian field of architecture, having accomplished a wide array of projects such as residential developments, commercial buildings, public spaces and the redevelopment of existing structures. An impressive portfolio from a firm willing to make a difference in people’s lives. Because of the variety of projects designed by Architecten Achtergael, it is hard to pigeonhole the firm. Whether for masterplans on a city level, public buildings on a street level or private, residential structures, Achtergael has the same intent and high ambition for every project at every level, from the greatest measure to the smallest detail, no matter if it is short term or for the long haul. All of Achtergael’s projects start from reinterpreting specific contexts, often previous industrial or military sites. By adding seemingly simple yet well-thoughtout contemporary additions, the firm 16 | Issue 50 | February 2018
manages to create new meanings and functions to a district. One of Achtergael’s prime examples would be the Dungelhoeff site in Lier, where an old military school was transformed into a mix of public buildings, green spaces and residential areas. “The project has become a positive virus, creating a new-found brilliance for the district while still having an accessible feel. We’re very happy with how everything turned out and have witnessed the rise of a new flourishing neighbourhood where old and new have found a balance.” Empowering a district is not unusual for Architecten Achtergael, as seen in the rededefining of Antwerp’s military hospital in collaboration with Stéphane Beel Architects. What once was a sealed off enclave is now a car-free neighbourhood in which diverse typologies create a rich social mix. A large green park encourages social interaction and forms a safe haven where children can play outside as the only traffic passing by are pedestrians and cyclists. “The complex works as a catalyst for its surroundings. Completing
socially meaningful projects is something we value highly at Achtergael. We use our know-how for a wide variety of projects in which we not only add value to the built environment, but also to its users, visitors, passers-by and others.”
Web: www.achtergael.be Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.