Pieter Vanhees

Pieter Vanhees

One ship, one house. PHL Diepenbeek (Belgium)

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How to discharge the modern road network of Belgium by using an historic waterway? This was the first question that came up at the start of the project. To answer that question I needed to find one of the most transport intensive sectors. The construction sector uses many different ways of road based traffic. “What if all the materials needed to build an entire house are loaded onto a ship?” If this ship docks nearby a building project, the contractor only needs to transport his materials between the ship and the project. The construction crew can even come directly to the construction site. Own research shows that in a radius of 10 kilometers around a waterway with a maximum capacity of 600 ton, almost entire Flanders can be reached.

The building itself works like a big warehouse were ships are part of the storage space. The ships are small pontoons that are moved by a push boat. The boat can bring loaded pontoons to the construction site, pick up empty pontoons on his way back and load these with raw materials. Because using a ship is a slow way of travelling the cycle must be as efficient as possible. Above the storage space workstations assemble wooden frames. The two elevations work vertical together by using overlapping cranes. Each workstation can pick up raw materials on ground level, assemble them an load the finished product back on the ship by using the same crane. The nearby industry can also send out products by using the loading docks, cranes and ships. The workstations, docks, storage space and offices are visually connected to each other to create a coherent building.

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