The global technology company Barco is heavily investing in Belgium, its country of origin. In Kortrijk, the new headquarters is rising from the ground. Especially the round main building (75 meters diameter), eye-catcher of the site, is clearly recognizable. VK Architects & Engineers takes charge of the entire engineering (structural engineering and building services) of the design by Jaspers-Eyers Architects, which is being realized in a building team formula.
The new headquarters is to become the frontpiece of the technology company. For that reason, the round main building will house several state-of-the-art multimedia applications, with an auditorium also to be used as cinema and demonstration areas for audiovisual applications, in addition to the reception area, open meeting decks, offices and a staff restaurant. The remaining free space functions as an atrium, 5 storeys high.
The atypical form poses quite some acoustical challenges. VK’s acoustical engineering experts calculated all relevant parameters with the aid of simulations, in order to propose suited solutions.
VK’s fire safety experts were also involved in the project. The evacuation routes of the round volume run through the atrium, calling for a specific approach. A combination of smoke screens, sprinklers and a mechanical smoke and heat exhaust ventilation system ensure a safe evacuation in all circumstances – with a minimal impact on the architectural design. VK also provided the needed input to obtain a deviation request from the Ministry of Interior Affairs.
Furthermore, the new headquarters also meet the current obvious sustainability standards. The design aims at some 95 kWh/m²/year for the entire project, including offices and an R&D-department.