Sébastien Gilet  & Thomas Pierre

Sébastien Gilet & Thomas Pierre

Bank conversion in a MediaLab. ULg Liège (Belgium)

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ULgLiège_Gilet_pasfoto.jpg ULgLiège_Pierre_pasfoto.jpg

This project was created in an architectural workshop focusing on building reconversion. The original building is actually a branch of the Belgian National Bank. It was built in 1968 by the EGAU architecture office. Since its closure is planed for 2019, the aim of the workshop was to prove to the city and investors that it is worth reconverting it.

To achieve this, we suggested to redesign it into a Medialab. Facing the evidence that technologies are thriving, we wanted to offer a huge center revolving around that topic. The aim was to gather people from different fields. Students, technical trainers, new entrepreneurs, artists an outsiders would be connecting, learning and exchanging through exhibitions, training and conferences.

Due to its former function, the building is very dark and introverted. Through time, the safety regulations of the bank system evolved and since it had to satisfy those requirements, the original qualities of the building were effectively ruined. Therefore the main challenge was to refurnish the building in order to reveal those past qualities and also express properly the change of function. For that reason we decided to build a new intervention, in a serpentine shape, starting from the entrance of the MediaLab up to it’s highest point, the tower. That shape allowed us to create a new circulation system guiding the public through the building and attracting them up to best working spaces and exhibit areas. That also fulfilled our necessity of opening up on the public and of being visible as a public function.

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