A building that once belonged to a cigarette factory has shed its smoky past for a new life in civil service. Mamout Architects, LD2 Architecture, and Stéphanie Willocx transformed the industrial structure into a two-story city-hall branch in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, a multicultural municipality in Brussels, Belgium. The modern renovated building is punctuated with large windows to let in natural light and to emphasize connection and transparency with the community.
The three Brussels-based architecture firms won a design competition to transform the industrial site into a new council office complete with a waiting room and administrative offices. The architects preserved much of the existing structure but revamped the facade with large glazed sections and improvements for better energy performance. The minimally decorated interior features high ceilings, a light color palette, and a connection to the outdoors through the large windows and access to natural light.
Remnants from the building’s history can be seen throughout the adaptive reuse project, such as the gray pavers and aging concrete beams and columns. “The proposal takes advantage of the existing situation by inserting the program in a fluid and logical disposal into the structure, without degrading it,” said Stéphanie Willocx, Mamout and LD2 Architecture to Dezeen. New additions, like the tables, windows, and counters, are aligned with the concrete beams for a clean and orderly appearance.
Images via studio fiftyfifty