Modern architecture has never involved itself much in the world of work. When architecture concerns itself with economy, it gives rise to an "intelligent" version of what is part of the tradition of industrial vernacular. A recent design for a warehouse by URA is more than that. Located on the rim of the industrial estate in Puurs, alongside the railway, the client is a company that acts as a link between manufacturers of building materials and dealers. The request was simple: 15,000 m² of storage space and 2,000 m² of office space.
URA did not look for a new typology, but reduced the archetypical form of the warehouse to its essence. The skeleton of the building consists of concrete roof frames and the structure is entirely covered by three sorts of corrugated sheeting: grey, transparent, and translucent. The alternation between these three is laid over the building like a mystery. This arbitrary, abstract skin turns the warehouse into a hall of mirrors because the patchwork of corrugated sheets sheds another light on the pattern characteristic of the program and the structure and gives it a good shake-up. At the short side, adjacent to the railway, the building is cut through. It is as if the warehouse is sliced off by a passing train. This means there is a view into the interior of the building, where two smaller U-shaped elevated offices appear. The term "landscape office" is here given new meaning, not only because of the site and the layout of the plan, but also because the offices are extravagantly focused on the landscape. The side walls of the office blocks look out, through windows that are set back like recesses, onto the structure of the warehouse or at the side walls of the other offices, which makes colleagues into neighbors or characters in a tableau vivant. Green zones have been designed between these offices in the open air, acting as small gardens for them, again beneath the flashing heavens of the warehouse roof.