071 Ecotron Hasselt University, Maasmechelen
Laboratory with ecosystem spheres for climate research in the National Park Hoge Kempen
Procedure Architecture competition
Client Hasselt University
Surface 1120 m2
Date 2013 – 2016
The project is a laboratory for climate research in the Hoge Kempen National Park. The experiment investigates the effects of a changed climate on the ecosystem.
An elongated volume, about 100 m in length, 10 m wide and 4 m in height.
The design underlines both aspects, program and landscape. Even more, it is the ambition to reinforce both dimensions through architecture:
Each visitor of the park should experience the building as an added value to the landscape. Obtaining this is no sinecure. The strategy to achieve this effect, on the other hand, is very simple.
The elongated volume is cladded in polished stainless steel. Due to the reflection of the environment, the building will not be present at first sight to the passerby. Only later, when approaching closer, the building will “appear”. Once you are aware of the building, it will be all the more. There is a strong interaction between absence and presence.
The length, the horizontal line, and the absence of visible details give the whole an image of perfection or immateriality. The building emphasizes the cutting-edge technology behind the eco-system experiment. The domes reinforce this with their transparency and repetition.
The design stimulates the mind. A prerequisite for any research. Program and appearance become one and strengthen each other.