Text description provided by the architects. On the site of the former cattle feed plant De Heus in Den Bosch, a temporary place is created for the city: The Social Label Design Lab ‘Werkwarenhuis’. Social Label is a foundation that aims to use the possibilities offered by design to help people on the sidelines of the labour market into employment. Part of the building will be used by Social Label as showroom, workshop and office space. The restaurant Van Aken, a component of the foundation, is allready founded in the old factory.
We were asked to come up with a plan to utilize the rest of the building. This should include workshops for the Social Label Design Lab itself, but other rooms will be rented out to other creative companies and initiatives. The plan should not be too complicated or costly, as the investment is only for ten years. This is rather challenging, but in a way also makes it more simple: how can we make an addition that is really useful, adds value and is affordable? We decided to focus on taking things away instead of adding them, and mainly creating light and space.
The local council had made the building ready for use, which basically meant making it wind and watertight and (fire)safe. The municipality’s construction method, securing everything with beams and sheet material, forms the basis for our plans. The sheet material will be removed and replaced by glass, and the new facades will be constructed in a similar way. Furthermore we will remove a lot of steel from the building and take out flooring sections in order to create space, light and openness. We will use the massive wooden floor sections to make the new walkways and stairways. Exept for glass, no new materials are added to the building.
A number of existing steel towers, former industrial boilers, vessels and silos, will be maintained and transformed into workspaces standing als object in a bigger space.
Because the buidling is so big and so there are so many different kind of users it is essential that visitors immediately see how the building unfolds and where you should go. We have decided to make one significant change: create one central space full of light, in which routing is solved.
In order to create the central space, as one big cut through the building, we will remove two existing brickwork facades and replace these with wooden beam glass walls with large beam entrance doors. The wooden floor sections of the levels in between will be removed from top to ground floor. Now, there is a large space in which everyone can meet eachother and where small businesses and activities can find and create their own space – a social workspace.