Abscis Architecten‘s Notary Office is a new building that exudes simplicity and tranquility with a environmentally conscious footprint. Located along Ghent’s Kortrijksesteenweg in Sint-Denijs-Westrem, the well-insulated brick building harnesses renewable energy and makes careful use of resources – including rainwater that’s partly absorbed by green roofs and partly recovered for toilets and irrigation. While these sustainable features are modestly tucked away from view, there is one feature that catches the eye: a large glazed wall at the top of the building that glows like a glass “lantern” at night.
Minimalism, transparency, and a minimal environmental impact were key drivers in the design of Notary Office. In contrast to the dark facade, the interiors are dominated by white and awash in natural light that streams in through full-height glazing. The ground floor is centered on a glass-enclosed atrium that’s exposed to the outdoors and landscaped with ground cover and stepping-stones. The connection to the outdoors is further emphasized in the rear of the building where sliding glass doors open up to a landscaped garden with old trees that were carefully preserved during the construction process.
Natural light is also let in at the top of the stairs through a large glass window dubbed the glass “lantern” that the architects say “forms a minimalist light beacon along the busy road.” To mitigate unwanted solar gain, the architects installed electronically controlled aluminum solar shades. An air-water heat pump heats and cools the building. Warm LEDs and sustainable insulation is used throughout the office.
Images © Jeroen Verrecht