MAVA Offices Steenokkerzeel
newly built offices
The building plot offered room for more than the programme of offices and logistic facilities of MAVA, an environmental consultancy firm. POLO Architects managed to persuade the client to fill the entire plot, erecting a much larger building that can accommodate several companies. The location, situated near the airport and close to a busy road, demanded a much more powerful design gesture.
The image of the stealth plane inspired the design for the new office building.
"Why is a stealth plane invisible to radar? Because its armour consists of nothing but flat surfaces. Radio waves bounce off curved surfaces, reverberating in all possible directions, while flat surfaces send almost no radio waves bouncing back to their source." – Mauro Poponcini, founding partner POLO Architects
The larger scale offers many advantages. It makes smarter use of the relatively scarce open space, allowing companies to share facilities, and lowering the price per square metre significantly. Moreover, it raises a sound barrier that protects the residential area nearby from the noise of the airport, a benefit that was welcomed by the municipality.
Large volumes cut through the building here and there, allowing daylight to penetrate deep into the structure. The irregularly shaped plan and the sloping surfaces of the roof create a disconcerting perspective, as if the walls were at a diagonal angle.
The most striking element is the sharp point to the south. The wedge-shaped plot is dramatically reflected in the building’s shape here. The roof rises towards the acute angle, causing the building to jut proudly like the bow of a ship sailing off into the landscape. The ‘forecastle’ on the top floor holds the conference room, which has a terrace where employees and visitors can watch planes land and take off again.
photography: Toon Grobet
Mava milieuadvies - Van Roey Projects