Cipal Geel

Competition design for an office building.

The design for a Cipal office building is a volumetric composition of three distinct parts: a public ‘disc’ serving as a base and on top of that two elements engaged in a dialogue in a subtle equilibrium: the office tower and the board of directors’ penthouse.
These three parts derive a certain degree of autonomy from their highly divergent scales and appearances: tower versus disc, high versus low, large versus small.
The public disc is dual in nature. The public area is located at the south side and the west side, so the seminar rooms and cafeteria can take advantage of the sunshine and the view of the surrounding green embankment landscape as if they were luxurious pavilions in a park. The logistic zone is located at the north side. In line with the reception patio, a public counter acts as a separation between office tower and public area.
This public area is conceived as one flowing transparent flexible room. By using the central garden patio, the circulation core of the office tower and a service volume as structuring elements, this fluid, open space is differentiated into a number of zones, each with its own scale and orientation. The central garden patio brings plenty of daylight into the core of the building. It is a space intended for meetings and for quiet enjoyment and it establishes visual connections between the diverse functions organised around it.
The office tower advertises Cipal’s presence from afar. Because of its position near the ring road, its premises function as a landmark, an orientation point for the whole of the site. The uniform facade with large windows emphasises this signal function.
Inside the tower, 6 layers of landscape offices have been stacked efficiently on top of the public reception counter area. Thanks to its effective orientation, well-considered energetic facade concept and logical structure, the tower is a pleasant, contemporary dynamic work environment.
A separate volume accommodates the rooms destined for the board of directors. It is accessible by means of sculpturally shaped stairs in the public area. The penthouse accommodates a fully equipped meeting room, a spacious seminar room seating up to 100 participants and the necessary service areas (sanitary space, kitchenette, storage). This design allows the board of directors to function as an integral part of Cipal, yet simultaneously retain a certain degree of autonomy.
In order to safeguard the integrity of the complex, faced concrete was chosen as its material leitmotif. Applying this material in variable ratios to the glass panes used for the building means the materiality of the concrete becomes the element that binds the complex’ starkly diverging components.

client Cipal
location Geel, Belgium
period 2011
procedure competition
surface 6000 m²
budget € 10 000 000
team Lieven Achtergael, Sander Verhanneman, Dirk Liekens, Jonas Marga, Joke Kindt, Jeffrey Berghman, Rein Bultynck, Vincent De Keyser
i.c.w. UTIL (structural engineering), RCR Studiebureau (MEP engineering)