Anonymous utility buildings dot our cities, keeping the other buildings humming -- but they're almost never part of the aesthetic fabric of the urban scene. Taking this into account, we were excited to see this unique power plant clad in beautiful Delftware tiles. Designed by Dutch architecture design firm Cie in collaboration with artist Hugo Kaagman, this new Combined Cycle Energy plant (CHP) in downtown Roombeek is an extraordinary ode to the past and a celebration of modern infrastructure. The building has been named Stadshaard (which translates to ‘city hearth’), to honor the source of the city’s light and heat.
The power plant holds two gas turbines that generate on-demand electricity while providing district heating for the community’s buildings. This makes the facility two times more efficient than plants that generate energy alone, but this also means that the plant has to be located in the community it serves. To celebrate the building as the community’s hearth, the designers decided to tile it in iconic Delftware glazed tiles that commemorate the Netherlands native and communicate the function of the building they clad.
The simple but expansive scale of the building makes it the largest delftware artwork in the Netherlands! We are very excited to see new buildings that create a sense of place and contribute to their surrounding community by telling the story of the people who live and have lived there. Hugo Kaagman states “The scale of the ornaments on the tower is bigger, like the motives on the corners of the building that seem to hold the building together. The tower is reminiscent of a church tower. At the top is the sun motif composed of tulips with the symbolism of the solar rays, so it is a temple of energy.”