AGV Free Clinic Renovation

Team Joni Nieuwenhuysen
Bruno Spaas
Location Schijnpoortweg 14 B-2060 Antwerpen
Year 2023
Client AG Vespa
Contractor Basalt Bouw
Supplier Amorim Cork

For over 40 years, Free Clinic vzw has been focusing on the most vulnerable urban residents. Over the past decades, the organization has developed a specialized outpatient program for individuals facing severe dependence issues on illegal substances. Employing a harm reduction approach, various aspects of this complex problem are addressed.

In 2010, the existing building was expanded with a new volume, enveloped in corten steel.

A few years after the completion of the new building, the corten steel facade panels are at risk of detachment in numerous areas. A 2020 investigation revealed that the vertical wooden framework is aligned with the horizontal framework, and no rain screen was installed over the roof edge. As a result, the wooden framework has been compromised by moisture, leading to decay and fungal growth in multiple areas. Cracks and perforations have developed in the membranes. The insulation materials have been compromised, resulting in a loss of their insulating capability.

Commissioned to renovate the facades in a sustainable manner, upon investigation, it is determined that the corten steel panels are not recoverable/reusable and must be completely replaced. We propose what seems to be a straightforward solution: remove everything (corten steel panels, wooden framework, and insulation). Subsequently, adhere/screw cork insulation panels to the support structure and finish with facade cork. The rhythmic pattern of the corten steel panels created an engaging facade. By providing joints in the cork panels, a similar facade rhythm is achieved.