“t Atelier” new building, Belgium by dmvA Architects

Fantastic collaboration between the client and the architect

Project Specs


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Appreciation towards dmvA for providing the following description:

“t工作室(t Atelier)”是比利时梅赫伦(Mechelen)的一家社会保障性公司,旨在为难以在常规就业市场中找到工作的人群提供工作机会。该公司位于公共社会福利中心和梅赫伦青年中心附近,包括一个自行车修理店和一个木工坊。由于修理店的建筑接缝处发生破裂,公司新购入了一座位于地块入口处的建筑。这座新建筑与后方既有的工作间连成了一个L形空间,其周围环绕着花园、木工坊以及会议中心。

▼建筑概览, overview ©Johnny Umans

‘t Atelier is a social enterprise in Mechelen (Belgium) that employs people who don’t find a job easily in the regular job market. It consists of a bicycle repair shop and a wood workshop and is situated on a plot where the Public Centre for Social Welfare and the Youth Center of Mechelen reside. Since the bicycle repair shop was bursting at the seams, they purchased the house adjacent to the entrance of the plot. The existing house and the workspace at the back form together an L-shaped plot that is bordered by gardens, the wood workshop and a meeting center.

▼新建筑与周边建筑,new building and its surroundings ©Johnny Umans


▼勒·柯布西耶的多米诺体系,the Dom-Ino house of Le Corbusier

As the new building is located at the entrance of the busy inner area, dmvA made a design that engages in a dialogue with the public passage and at the same time visually connects with the facades of the neighboring houses in the street. The base of the building is a concrete structure of columns and floor slabs, based on the Dom-Ino house of Le Corbusier. All the techniques such as electric cables, floor heating and ventilation were incorporated into the concrete slabs. The structure of the building is filled with playful framework of glass and exterior wooden joinery, showing the competence of the workshop. The bicycle store was installed on the ground floor with the repair shop at the back. On the first floor there is an office space and on the second level there are meeting rooms provided.

▼新建筑位于工作室内部空间的入口。New building is located at the entrance of the inner area. ©Johnny Umans

▼建筑立面与周围建筑形成视觉上的联系, visually connects with the facades of the neighboring houses ©Johnny Umans


▼自行车修理室后门, back door of the repair store ©Johnny Umans

The new building is the first step in the development of a social network in an area nearby one of the poorest districts in Flanders. This is an extra incentive for the government to invest further in the neighborhood after all the efforts made by ‘t Atelier. The nearby area of the site will be expanded with 300 houses and has therefore a lot of potential. Participation was one of the biggest cornerstones in the socially engaged project. Twenty years ago, dmvA was one of the first to believe in the sheltered workshop ‘t Atelier and integrated various woodwork projects from ‘t Atelier into their designs. From this a bond of trust originated between the architect and the client and it resulted in a number of collaborations.

▼修理室楼梯,stairs of repair store  ©Johnny Umans

▼修理室室内, inner space of repair store  ©Johnny Umans

▼自行车店, bicycle store ©Johnny Umans


▼以混凝土结构为基础,配合木工坊的木制构架,concrete base filled with wood structure built by “t Atelier” ©dmvA

For the new building dmvA also had the wish to collaborate intensely with the people from the wood workshop with the aim to highlight the woodworkers’ ability by constructing their own building. All the joinery, from interior to the exterior, was developed in wood and was designed in such a way that it could be executed by the atelier itself. The flexibility of the concrete building structure made it easy to be filled in by ‘t Atelier. This resulted in a fantastic work process between the client and the architect, both striving for a high-quality outcome. The pride of the people of ‘t Atelier was the cherry on top.

▼建筑立面细部, detail of facade ©Johnny Umans

▼建筑鸟瞰,arieal view ©dmvA

▼首层平面,ground floor plan ©dmvA

▼二层平面,first floor plan ©dmvA

▼三层平面,second floor plan ©dmvA

Concept: Bycicle shop, bycicle repair shop, office space
Location: Battelsesteenweg 48, Mechelen, Belgium
Design team: David Driesen, Tom Verschueren, Nandi Degrave
Client: ’t Atelier vzw
Structural engineer: UTIL struktuurstudies
Estimated budget: € 630 400 (excl. VAT)
Surface: 408 m2
Completion: 13 September 2019
Photography: Johnny Umans

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