Carlos' Bubbles

What does a city do when a 40.000 m2 piece of land with an 11.000 m2 industrial shed built in 1991 comes available? Easy: you turn the old Coca Cola Factory into the new city hall and civic centre of Oostkamp! First step? You launch an architecture competition and brief. Result: Madrid-based architecture office Carlos Arroyo comes up with a great, bubbly, concept and takes home the price.

Carlod decided to reuse the spacious industrial shed; not just to recycle materials like the steel, but to reuse the space itself, it's foundations, enclosure, services, access, and all the "invisible" parts; and to turn it into a luminous landscape of clouds; a sheltered public space within a controlled weather environment.

This idea translated into a luminous landscape of white clouds into the existing building. This offered a large sheltered area where a set of modular clusters may be arranged. The openings among the clouds are equipped with simple devices that transform all kinds of weather conditions into wonderful events.

The bubbles are only a few millimetres thick in the highest points, weighing a mere 7 kg/m2. Building them within the weatherproof industrial shed simplified the demands. Inflatable formwork simplifies the building process. It creates a fascinating landscape for very little energy! Who needs more?

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