Also as a client, the municipality of Houthalen-Helchteren lives up to its innovative and environmentally conscious reputation: for the design of the 7,000 square metre forecourt, the city administration deliberately selected clay pavers as a building material. Numerous community and social facilities are brought together under one roof in the administrative centre (NAC) as the core element of the so-called “Cleantech Campus”. The long-term aim is a reduction of CO2 emissions by 90 percent.

Project details

Reference object

Forecourt Administrative Centre NAC Houthalen, Belgium

Architect

Holistic Architecture, Hasselt

Client

Autonomous Municipality of Houthalen-Helchteren

Pavers used

Trendline Reno

Available formats

200 x 50 x 65 mm, 200 x 65 x 65 mm, 200 x 100 x 65 mm, 160 x 40 x 65 mm

Paved area

6.600m²

New Administrative Center Houthalen, Belgium

New Administrative Center Houthalen, Belgium

New administration centre in Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium

New administration centre in Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium

New administration centre in Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium

New administration centre in Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium

New administration centre in Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium

New administration centre in Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium

Using ceramic products intelligently

The use of ceramic building materials plays an important role in the sustainability concept of the NAC. In addition to the tower, which is clad with blue clay roof tiles, Wienerberger clay pavers were laid all around the building – the colourfast “Trendline Reno” paver fired from high-quality clay. Kristof Beernaert from Arcadis, who together with Holistic Architecture 50/5 also designed the outdoor areas, explains the selection: “The natural paving material forms a beautiful contrast to the modern architecture.”
Another difficult undertaking was the levelling of the square. A fault line made from contrasting polished concrete blocks was integrated over the entire length to bridge the height difference between the access road and the entrance. The clay pavers were laid in half-brick bond, whereas the elbow bond was used for the slope down to the garages.

Sustainable and beautiful

Besides eco-friendliness, efficiency and development, emotion is the fourth buttress supporting the vision of the planners that has become architecture. Architecture, urban planning or the interior design should not only be economically profitable but also make the user happy and satisfied. Not least, this is also reflected in the plain contours of the dominant azure-blue building. It was designed with a roof garden as well as triple glazing with integrated blinds. Rainwater is re-used, the discharge of rain and waste water is separated. Heat pumps and a ventilation system with heat recovery ensure an optimal indoor climate.
Inside the building, which was insulated according to passive house standards, as much electricity as possible is saved by means of presence detectors. In order to integrate the NAC into the landscape as attractively as possible, hedges and ornamental grasses as well as blossoming trees or shrubs, and those intensively changing the colour of their leaves in autumn were selected as important design elements. Artists Willy Van Parijs and Linde Hermans transformed a monumental support wall into a bas-relief showing human figures. So soon after its completion, the administration building is now already considered a benchmark for further private or public buildings under the banner of ecology and sustainability.

Related inspiration articles