Power Plant Langerbrugge

Study for the re-use of the boileroom, the machinehall and the chimney of the former power plant Langerbrugge (heritage-protected), commissioned by Origin Architecture and Engineering


Where there's wind now, there used to be smoke. Before the windturbines, the Ghent Harbor used to be a landscape of chimneys. Between water and village, there still stands a very large chimney -the biggest- connected to large buildings. The majestic power plant of Langerbrugge supplied power for decades to teh Ghentian region and the harbor. Progressive and cutting-edge, on European and globale scale, the complex site is testimony to the history of energy production. The monument lost its initial use some ten years ago and was later on partly restored and fit for new use; but the boiler room, the machine hall and the chimney remain empty shells. An engine without a spark.

Before developing future paths, the buildings and their surroundings a thorougly anatomically dissected, in space and time, in abstract and specific. Has been researched: building history, values as heritage, fysical condition, architectural qualities, landscape qualities, juridical context, financial prognoses. A big stew on information.

Three scenarios worth researching distill themselves from the brew. A vertical warehouse and distriburion centre: a well-considered maximalisation of floorspace which mitigates with the heritage. A parking with business-spaces on top: a combination of uses filling up the large buildings. A shippingmuseum: a public function with a more complex and more wide financial model, also reaching out to its surroundings. They all have the strenghts and weaknessess, there threats and opportunities.

Majestic, imposing and huge. But also in need of restoration and bound to complexities. Three possible scenarions that might provide an answer, three sparks for ignition, three possible future paths for the buildings around the biggest chimney in Ghent.

Study completed, Ghent

view from Kerkbrugge  

view from the harbor  

boiler room  

machine hall  

business space and distribution  

shippingmuseum  

plotting  

spacial analysis - landscape  

spacial analysis - heritage  

analysis of approach  

symmetries and anomalies  

concept development