2016 Nathan HeindrichsNathan Heindrichs & Jérémy Lelièvre - Spatial opportunism
How to include a former thermal power station in the transition process of an old abandoned University area towards a new urban pole in the city of Liège ? What approach could help this technical infrastructure to serve the new users of the Val-Benoît, and make it participate in the urban awakening of the location ?
We chose to opt for a multi-programmatic approach of the project, that seems more capable of participating in a popular effervescence within the building throughout the day. We chose a series of functions according to the public use they provide and to their capacity to make the most out of the different architectural typologies that the building contains.
The project implement several functions within the infrastructures of the thermal station. A big portion of the project is dedicated to create several small theaters in order to provide work spaces to the graduates of the acting school located nearby (ESACT). Different public functions are located nearby the parc of Val-Benoît in order to participate to the public activity taking place on the site. The lower levels are invested by thermal baths which make use of the former megastructures that supported the station’s machinery and try to create a particular atmosphere. Finally, it seemed necessary to assemble the totality of the users around a central space, permitting to simplify the circulations, as well as linking the different levels of the site and propose a spacial opening within the concrete structures.
In order to enhance the structural variety of the building without losing the ability of insulating the project, we focused on the preservation of the interior spaces of the station while following a more alterative process towards the facades.

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