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New library by Robbrecht en Daem and Goedefroo + Goedefroo opens its doors

On October 1st, the moment had finally come: the new public library of Waregem opened its doors. The design by Robbrecht en Daem and Goedefroo + Goedefroo Architects is part of the larger project South Boulevard. Besides the library, it also contains 58 apartments, a broad and green promenade and underground car park. VK performed all the engineering studies.

Not only is the library 3 times larger than the former library, it is also much more sustainable. Climatisation is provided by borehole thermal energy storage and concrete core activation. As a result, the concrete structure is visible throughout the building. A number of other passive measures have been integrated. Much attention was paid to an optimal insulation, an airtight building envelope. The ambient lighting is also well thought-out, with large north-oriented gable windows and fully glazed facades. At the same time, a broad continuous overhang limits heat gains from the sun. A green roof maximizes insulation and ensures the filtering of rain water, for sanitary use.

Quiet please, people are reading!

VK also provided the acoustical consulting. Not an easy assignment in an open-plan building housing several functions. Within one space is located a central atrium, a children’s corner, a quiet reading room, several reading areas and an audio-visual area.

Due to the concrete core activation, the ceiling wasn’t available for acoustical cladding. A thoroughly integrated design approach resulted in custom-made bookshelves, both for acoustical absorption and for lighting. In the perforated custom-made shelves, an acoustical mat has been integrated : this takes up the lion’s share of the absorbing surface. Additional acoustical absorption is delivered by the books themselves and by wood wool panels in the roof of the central atrium. Areas without shelves dispose of acoustical islands, with the same look and feel. The secluded quiet reading room disposes of acoustical wood wool wall panels. A fully glazed, circular volume in the children’s corner can be used for reading sessions, where the children and the storyteller can get wrapped up in the story, without disturbing the other visitors while keeping full visual contact with the surroundings.

The entire project is realised within a public-private partnership. The terrain is mostly owned by the Public Centre for Social Welfare of Waregem, while Vanhaerents acts as the developer. The apartments and promenade will be completed by the end of 2016.

On October 5th, Vanhaerents with the town of Waregem and Leiedal organise an architectural lecture on the project. More information on

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