The new Flemish Administrative Centre (VAC) in Leuven – the Dirk Bouts building – is adjacent to the railway line and station and forms a new urban landmark for the city. It is the final component within the redevelopment plan for the station’s north side and comprises two main buildings: an 18-storey, 60-metre tower – the tallest in the city – and a 200-metre long, low-rise, 4-storey stepped building. At the end of the low-rise unit, the two upper levels cantilever out over a landscaped public plaza.The façade is clad in natural stone, the colour and texture of which harmonises with the surrounding buildings. It is thanks to the dynamic façades, and the solid walls, that the noise nuisance from the trains is reduced, thereby increasing the acoustic comfort of the district.
The 23,879-square-metre Dirk Bouts building provides office space for 640 (800) people working in (coming from) twenty-six different departments of the Flemish administration and it is built over a 158-car underground garage. The new administrative centre is a model of sustainability and incorporates many energy-saving technologies, including free-cooling and geothermal wells that dramatically reduce the need for cooling and heating during summer and winter. When completed in 2010, the Dirk Bouts building was the first office building to achieve a 4-star certificate from the Flemish government for meeting the highest performance standards elaborated in the Technical Requirements for Office Buildings handbook.
In cooperation with Gigantes Zenghelis Architects, Bureau Bouwtechniek NV