Most circular office building of the Low Countries

Most circular office building of the Low Countries: Kamp C is the living lab of the Province of Antwerp for sustainability and innovation in the construction industry and a previously selected consortium of 7 firms have completed ‘t Centrum in Westerlo (Belgium). This is the 1st fully circular office building in Flanders. The 3 storey building has a complete surface area of 2,400 m2. The building’s high level of circularity is amazing. It has been fully constructed from reusable materials and can therefore be completely disassembled and rebuilt in another place. The builders used innovative materials, applications, techniques and new business models from start to finish.

Kamp C is strongly dedicated to the transition in the construction industry, from traditional processes to circular building. ‘t Centrum stimulates the building’s users as well as people and businesses nearby to use raw materials differently. Waste streams were lowered to a minimum and investments made in a sustainable energy supply and water management. The team has additionally focused a lot of attention on raising awareness and encouraging behavioural change, as well as lowering the energy requirements of the building’s users. The experiences with alternative forms of partnership including the financing and business models will be shared with the public. Kamp C’s intention with ‘t Centrum is to demonstrate that circular building is possible, along with nudging the construction industry.

With its well-thought-out circular design and conscious selection of materials, techniques and innovative business models, the building is a catalyst for circular construction in Flanders and beyond. ‘t Centrum has been designed in agreement with a modular, standardised grid. With this concept, the consortium expects to demonstrate that the building can be easily moved and expanded.

“Major players in the office market, such as Immobel, predict that the demand for sustainable buildings is set to increase in the coming years. We hope to get as many construction companies as we can on the bandwagon with ‘t Centrum. This benefits both the climate, as well as employment in the construction industry, one of the economic spearhead sectors in the Province of Antwerp”, says Kathleen Helsen, member of the Provincial Executive responsible for Work and Economy & the President of Kamp C.

“It is obvious that we need to take a more future proof approach to construction. That is why we built ‘t Centrum”, announces Emiel Ascione, project manager at Kamp C.

Alexander Van Haesbroeck (Kamp C), Jan Laga (Tenerga), Sarah Theeuws (West Architectuur), Kathleen Helsen (Kamp C), Jurgen Vervoort (Beneens), Stefan Belmans (Streng-th), Teun Depreeuw (Muurtuin/Ecoschelp), Jeroen Bruyndonckx (TEN), Maarten Puls (Kamp C), Brecht Beirinckx (Streng-th), Chris Baert, Sofie Torfs, Anne Goidts (Kamp C), Joeri Beneens (Beneens), Marijke Aerts, Kelly Penen, Emiel Ascione (Kamp C) © Kamp C & Compagnie Fotografie

Innovative applications

The office building has regulated modular walls, floors, columns and beams. The timber frame elements use GL and CLT. The outcome is a building that is easy to adapt, expand and renovate with components that are easy to recover and thus maintain their value in the long term. Building with a deposit system is now possible. All the materials used are listed in a Building Information Model (BIM) in which the materials passport is directly connected. BIM is a digital model that incorporates all the data of a building and is used to facilitate collaboration between all the construction partners.

‘t Centrum uses an innovative building management system. The system produces to the minimum possible, optimised energy consumption, but is additionally used to manage preventive maintenance and lengthen the building’s lifespan. The building management system is equipped with wireless sensors, throwing out many metres of cable in the process and making it easier to expand or downsize the installation.

The Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) demonstrates that the building has an extremely low environmental footprint. Compared with similar sized conventional buildings, it saves approx. 800 tons of CO2 (equal to the capturing of approx. 70 hectares/100 football pitches of forest).

A BTES field is used to heat and cool the building Cementless screed and foundations were particularly made for ‘t Centrum. The cementless foundations were developed by the URBCON Interreg project. By administering the URBCON concrete composition in these foundation elements, 22,500 kilos of secondary materials were used & 13,000 kg less CO2 emitted, in comparison to conventional foundations. The floor is constructed from shell insulation and a green wall will purify grey water. The furniture of the information centre at Kamp C was reused and upcycled and included in the offices.

Circular economy

The group reused wood from Hangar 26, a past events venue in Antwerp, for the façade cladding. Antwerp-based sheltered workshop Kunnig gave the wood a complete makeover. The wooden beams were granted a new lease of life as façade cladding in ‘t Centrum.

Circular showcase

The staff of Kamp C has now moved into its new offices in ‘t Centrum. The building is a showcase for circular building, serving as motivation for new initiatives and innovation. Kamp C wants to demonstrate as many materials and techniques as possible in ‘t Centrum. You will be able to consult further information online or on-site in the near future.

You can take a guided tour of ‘t Centrum. To book a tour, send an email to info@kampc.be or book a tour on the website starting 10th June at www.kampc.be.

Project partners

‘t Centrum was built by a consortium, named Kamp Circulair. It is made up of seven companies: Beneens bouw en interieur, West Architectuur, Streng-th, Muurtuin, Tenerga, TENgroup, and VITO.

Most circular office building of the Low Countries

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