Perceptual space

Perceptual space

In the third Bachelor studio Architecture & construction an emphasis was put on both construction and experience. The assignment consisted of the design of a number of spaces brought together by a spacial concept, both served and serving, using a timber construction.

The plot of the project is situated in Mechelen. It is mainly surrounded by private housing and bound by rear façades. A typical small urban canal to the front and historical workers’ dwellings to the back compliment the tranquil atmosphere of the environment. Traditionally, these historical workers’ dwellings were grouped around a street or square that could be closed off at night.

The designed public building stands separate from the private buildings and therefore has an introvert character. A square in front of the workers’ dwellings and a clear threshold to the back are created. There is sought for a balance between interaction and anonymity, residents and visitors. The public nature of the building is made clear with the ‘open’ timber cladding.

Fig .1
1:50 scale model.

Fig. 2 & 3
Floor plan & long-section.

Fig. 4
Construction detail of the acoustically insulated wall and floor.

Four elements occurring in the environment of the building are each taken separate to create distinct and specific atmospheres. These are linked by spaces with a significantly closed atmosphere. The curiosity of the visitors is provoked by an arch in front of the building. The high narrow space between the arch and the building creates an enclosed experience. Following this, the first interior space has an open ambience that revolves around the greenery which is found in the surroundings of the building. In the following room, a layer of water covers the floor. This natural boundary refers to the urban canal in front of the building. It forces the visitor who is commanded by the linear circulation through the space. From the water one rises to the third space. A central raised square gives the visitor the choice to put oneself on a pedestal or to humbly walk around it. Through an airlock one reaches the final, acoustically isolated, room. Due to low lighting the sensation of sunlight is stimulated making the visitor aware of its importance.

Finally, the visitor re-enters the outside environment. Due to the separate observation of all the occurring elements—greenery, water, locus and light—the urban surroundings will be experienced more consciously with a bigger emphasis on these natural elements.