centre for group dynamics, belgium, by dethier architectures
centre for group dynamics, belgium, by dethier architectures centre for group dynamics, belgium, by dethier architectures
aug 06, 2013

centre for group dynamics, belgium, by dethier architectures

centre for group dynamics, belgium, by dethier architectures
image © serge brison




the sustainably designed ‘centre for group dynamics and institutional analysis’ (CDGAI) by belgium practice dethier architectures is elegantly crafted using industrial building techniques. located in the sart-tilman science park in liège, the architecture sits in harmony with its surrounding wooded landscape, setting a benchmark in the field of ‘psychosocial science-action’. the CDGAI functions as a space for small groups to gather and exchange ideas on the subject of social psychology. the meeting rooms needed to be a type of enclosure from the outside world – set away, but not completely removed from its surroundings, translucent walls provide ample light into the interior spaces.


the organization of the building’s interior spaces allows for a high degree of flexibility. the single storey rectangular structure, 23m x 10m has a mezzanine level, which contains offices and a library. the ground floor houses two meeting rooms, the entrance way, a reception, kitchen, a room for office equipment, bathrooms and a machine room. the small volume wraps these necessary functions under a curving roof, making the atmosphere within feel protective and light.



the elegant interaction between solids and voids diffuses light in a variety of ways
image © serge brison



the environmentally designed building uses innovative and high quality materials, similar those normally reserved for industrial use. these easy-to-install materials limited the ecological impact and also enabled costs to remain low. translucent glass and polycarbonate panels provide both soundproofing and diffuse natural light. black rubber was used as a roof covering for the eaves and polished reinforced concrete for the flooring slabs.


rather than installing an expensive air-conditioning unit, a free cooling system adjusts the building’s temperature – at night screened vents allow cool air to be absorbed by the masonry and cement flooring, which is then given off slowly during the day. the roof system is designed for rainwater absorption while preservation of the existing topography and vegetation ensures that the structure fits well into its natural surroundings.



meeting room a: housed under a curving roof, making the atmosphere within feel protective and light
image © serge brison



customized digital drawings of the prefabricated elements, made it possible to achieve a flush for between the walls and the metal framework on the south facade, while the north facing masonry facade provides bracing for the structure. the juxtaposition of solids and voids is enhanced by the play of light and shadows of the trees on the polycarbonate facade, the rooms are filled with abundant natural light, while at night the building is transformed into a glowing lantern.



translucent walls provide ample light into the interior spaces with a soft diffused natural light
image © serge brison



meeting room b showing the shadows of the trees through the polycarbonate panels
image © serge brison



the organization of the building’s interior spaces allows for a high degree of flexibility
image © serge brison



interaction between the mezzanine and the ground floor
image © serge brison



the green tone in the office
image © serge brison


project info:


location: sart tilman science park 
programme: construction of offices building with meeting rooms
project owner: CDGAI
maîtrise d’ouvrage: dethier architectures
stability: ney & partners
general contractor: daniel stoffels sprl
metallic structure: bemelmans balancier et fils sprl
interior woodwork: c. dethier sprl
surroundings: josé géraerds
artist: jean glibert
photographs: serge brison
surfaces: 333 m2, rez-de-chaussée : 249 m2, étage: 84 m2
conception-construction: 2002-2004
cost: 276 500 € net of VAT (surroundings included)



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