The assignment was to create 144 childcare places on the site of a municipal park's maintenance department. The plot lies within a remarkable environment, framed by tall trees. The building is designed as a pavilion within this park, a circular building with little distinction between front and back and enriched by its relationship with the varied surroundings. The client proposed to integrate both the existing and new functions into a single building project aimed at maximizing the possible synergies between them. Everything related to the park’s maintenance department is big and rough, while everything related to the kindergarten is small and fragile. The project crystallizes this contrast by raising the level of the kindergarten so that both users are placed at eye level with one another. Given the regular use patterns of both functions, the building has been fitted with a slow-response heating and cooling system. The building uses the Earth’s thermal mass which it transfers to the building. The exposed floor and ceiling plates facilitate this transfer through their thermal accessibility and high inertia, minimizing the overall energy-use requirements while ensuring a constant temperature and level of comfort. Formally, the two exposed plates strongly define the perception of the spaces between them, lending the building a simple coherence.

  • Location

    Merksem, Belgium

  • Client


  • Design period

    2008 - 2010

  • Construction period

    2011 – 2012

  • 51N4E project team

    Freek Persyn, Johan Anrys, Peter Swinnen, Tom Baelus, Jan Opdekamp, Tine Cooreman, Paul Steinbrück, Emmanuel Debroise, Philippe Nathan

  • Consultants

    ODS (EPB), Ecosafe (safety)

  • Structural engineering

    BAS / Dirk Jaspaert

  • Technical engineering

    Studiebureau Boydens

  • Building physics/acoustics


  • Programme

    Kindergarten & greenery service

  • Built surface

    3.500 m²

  • Photography

    Filip Dujardin, Ruben Dario Kleimeer, Andri Haflidason, Tom Baelus

  • Image credits