DCM - Grobbendonk (BE)

The overriding narrative here is the link between the inside and outside, with a strong focus on plants and nature.

DCM - Grobbendonk (BE)

Intelligent external solar shading for DCM’s energy-efficient office building

European market leader De Ceuster Meststoffen (DCM) produces organic fertilisers linked to waste flows from the food industry. This sustainable approach is reflected in their new energy-efficient head office in Grobbendonk. All modern sustainable construction technologies are integrated: concrete core activation, solar panels, extensive insulation and architectural solar shading. The perfect combination of functionality and design of the DucoSun Wing louvre blades won over the client and Schellen Architecten.

Dynamic in form and finish; DCM’s head office exudes these qualities. The triangular building with a surface area of 2,800 m² makes optimum use of the shape of the plot. The design also takes advantage of the south-western orientation and the lie of the land. The building is embedded, as it were, in a hillside and as such anchored into its surroundings. The overriding narrative here is the link between the inside and outside, with a strong focus on plants and nature. Logical given that DCM is active in the horticulture sector. 

This project not only accommodates the central departments but also serves as a conference centre. An assignment architect Reginald Schellen looks back on with pleasure: ‘The ideal symbiosis between the building and its environment makes this project genuinely unique. The building nestles into its natural surroundings and as such reflects the green philosophy of the company.’

Keeping the sun’s heat out

‘The glass façade on the south side and the centrally located terrace allow light to flood into the building,’ continues Schellen. ‘The windows also form the link with the greenery, the hills, the lake and the vegetation. Glass façades facing the sun can easily lead to overheating of the interior during periods of warm and sunny weather. In an energy-efficient office building, the skill is to allow a lot of light to enter during the winter but keep out the sun’s heat during the summer.’

Structural solar shading

‘To prevent the summer sun becoming the enemy of living comfort, structural external solar shading is vital,’ stresses Schellen. ‘This is why we opted for the uniquely-shaped louvre blades DucoSun Wing. Based on experience with other offices, we know that the best option is to fit the louvre blades horizontally on a south façade because the sun is high. The architectural added value of the louvre blades on the large south façade should not be underestimated. DUCO came out on top, financially and technically, from the comparison. Take the specific shape and the mounting of the louvre blades for instance. Together we looked for the ideal warm colour.’

Movable system

‘The DucoSun Wing is perforated and thus assures perfect harmony between solar shading and shadow,’ says Pieter Decat, technical-commercial consultant. ‘The fin-shaped louvre blade has an urban design and can rotate with the sun which means the light entering can be controlled. This enables a better atmosphere in the space. The louvre blades can be adjusted to almost any position. In this way there is no nuisance light on the shop floor, however the sun shines through. The structural solar shading at DCM not only ensures efficient protection from the sun’s rays but it also ensures a drop in the average indoor temperature of up to 12% to combat overheating.’ Schellen concludes: ‘This is a project we can be rightfully proud of.’

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