Architects: Lensass Architects
Location: Kortrijk, Belgium
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Philippe van Gelooven
From the architect. Heritage
The drying sheds on the ‘Tuileries du Littoral’ site in Kortrijk were established in 1924 by Ernest Dumolin. The residual heat of the tile works’ baking ovens was pushed through a two-layered floor into the hangars where the pressed and wet roof tiles were dried. This principle was widely copied in many foreign countries. In the mid-sixties, the sheds were replaced by modern installations.
This place is a lieu de mémoire (site of memory). People have lived and worked here, and have consequentially become attached to the architecture and its surroundings. The visual impact of this ‘near-ruins’ on the landscape becomes the architectural motivation to preserve this industrial heritage in its pristine splendour. By placing a steel bracing structure in the sheds, and thus ensuring their stability, it became possible to give the building a new purpose.
The conservation of the building, the choice of a precise colour scheme, the custom-made window frames, and the recessed new window frames, reconcile the ruin’s history with its new function. Incidentally, the original windows were not designed to man-size height and a standard floor level in the building takes up one and a half story. The connection with this building is so intense, that the Koramic-Terca-Wienerberger group will again relocate its offices to this heritage-rich location.