Text description provided by the architects. We were commissioned to build Infrax West’s new offices after winning a competition in which Infrax’s high degree of ambition had to be expressed in a strong conceptual design that matched and enhanced its corporate identity. Their characteristic ecological and sustainable values were given expression in this project by using a metaphor for a forest in which a host of slender concrete trunks were topped with a broad green ‘crown’.
As a utilities service provider (electricity, natural gas, cable television and sewerage), Infrax sets an important example concerning sustainability and energy efficient building. Infrax has drawn up a program of requirements with very challenging objectives concerning energy efficiency, comfort and flexibility for their new regional office in Torhout.
Diverse eco-innovative techniques such as a technical front wall with integrated photovoltaic panels, a borehole energy storage field (BEO field) and core concrete activation (BKA) have been applied throughout the building.
The use of these technologies has yielded primary energy savings of 42% and a significant improvement in comfort. The calculated value of the building’s E-standard is E60 and the K value is K44. The drop in energy use will save around €30,000 each year.
The central pillar of the design is the creation of an innovative wall that is both literally and metaphorically green. It is construction in different ‘skins’, allowing it to regulate light, air and sound for the building. The outer skin consists of screen printed glass panels in 3 colours and three degrees of transparency. The mosaic formed by all these elements and the wall’s ingenious construction have made an unmistakable contribution to the building’s expressive and dynamic character.
The project receives a subsidy from the European Fund for Regional Development because of its advanced eco-innovative technologies and importance for local and regional economic development. The new Infrax office building’s low energy concept was also made possible by co-financing by the Flemish Energy Agency and the Flemish government’s Environment, Nature and Energy (LNE) department.