The former cusotms tower at the lock between the Bruges Ringvaart and the Boudewijn Canal has been beautifully refurbished and converted into a notary’s office with an extravagant clay tile.

Project details

Project Notary’s office in Bruges, Belgium
Client Notariat Blontrock, Bruges
Architect ARFIVE, Filip Verbeke, Oostkamp
Clay roof tiles used Koramic Façatile slate engobe

Notary’s office in Bruges clad with Koramic Façatile slate engobe

Notary’s office in Bruges, Belgium

Notary’s office clad with Koramic Façatile slate engobe

Notary’s office in Bruges, Belgium

Facade in detail

Notary’s office in Bruges, Belgium

Facade in detail

Notary’s office in Bruges, Belgium

Two extra cubes

The five storeys of the tower were exposed right down to the inner cavity leaf, to which a continuous polyurethane insulation on a wooden supporting structure was attached. The windows in the existing wall openings, the rhythm of which varies per storey, were maintained and complemented with two extra cubes filled out with enamelled sheets of glass.

Aesthetic clay tile with industrial design

The numerous windows required an external wall finishing in a small and thus more economic format. The slate-coloured ‘Koramic Façatile’ clay tile with its flat shape was a perfect choice. The sustainable ceramic material fits in with the industrial environment and gives the notary‘s office an extravagant style. The colour of the tiles harmonises with the adjacent building and strengthens the buildings character. Additionally, the aluminium profiles from the Façatile product range provide for corners at perfect right angles. The invisible flashing behind the clay tiles guarantees impermeable windproof sealing. A cavity with an anti-vermin net at the bottom creates a constant air flow in the cavity. The window frames of the 68 windows have been fashioned in Corten Steel. The main entrance to the notary‘s office is indicated by a large glass section. The tower also has two new extensions with garages and carport located behind, constructed in a combination of load-bearing brickwork and concrete walls, and mostly finished off with the lively ‘Terca Hectic Gesmoord’ facing brick. This brick owes its richly nuanced character and its irregular pattern to a second firing. As if a container has been pushed into the building, a generous cube made of Corten Steel and glass acts as special eyecatcher and attracts peoples attention even from a distance.

Wokring in comfort

The open-plan office above the garages and the carport is generously flooded with daylight thanks to the double curtain wall. The fifteen metre high tower offers a stunning panorama of Bruges and Zeebrugge. Internally, the structural steelwork dating from the 1950s was completely modified. Only the existing staircase was preserved.
 
On the two upper levels, the original concrete U-shaped arches remained visible. The building is fitted out with under-floor heating fed by a natural gas condensing boiler. The notary‘s office is airconditioned using a ventilation system with heat recovery.
 
With the ‘Notariaat aan de Sluis’ and its distinctive façade covered in clay tiles, architect Filip Verbeke provided a valuable stimulus breathing new architectural life into this rather neglected neighbourhood.

Related inspiration articles