The Arch Structure & Spaces

It’s been over a month since we dismantled and stored the wood from The Arch for the winter, a good moment to show the different spaces that were The Arch.

The structure is conceived in the form of a catenary line as a support structure for a self-standing brick arch, but it’s also designed to support life throughout the summer! Hosting our team and guests for over 4 months and receiving a lot of visitors it generates an interesting mix of public and semi-private spaces.

As an open structure it encourages people to pass through The Arch on the ground floor, as a continuation of public space around the old mining site of Genk.
The covering, made from industrial shrink-wrap, gives a strong visual link at night between the inside and the outside of the structure: casting shadows, showing different colours of lights, projections, ..

A typical day at The Arch starts and ends with the opening and closing of the doors.
The doors allow the structure to open completely during the day and to create some intimacy at night. Activities can be organised in or out the structure easily, or even navigate in-between.

The center of the structure is the workshop space. Having the height of the whole Arch it functions as the place where plastic research and fabrication happen but also allow flexible programmation such as concerts, movie screening, presentations… and a lot of dancing.

If the workshop is the machinery of The Arch we also need a lot of fuel! A kitchen is born.
It is designed so the counter for cutting vegetables and preparing food also serves as the bar for visitors. Preparing food while talking to a curious passerby makes for a quite direct and intimate conversation, and of course letting somebody taste fresh food is always a good start.

In The Arch we had two toilets and a shower, built onto the gravel ground floor, creating a situation where you are inside with some comfort but actually still very much outside.
A beautiful addition was our make shift temporary pool to survive the Belgian summer heat wave.

The first and second floor consist of more private spaces, separated from the public by only a staircase.
On the first floor is the office, connected to the bedrooms with a bridge.
Every inhabitant or long-term resident have a personal bedroom, allowing them to have some more privacy. Although with the white shrink-wrap light and shadows can be cast from bedroom to bedroom, creating an intriguing play between rooms..

The use for the top floor turns out to be quite varied!
Initially designed to host bigger groups of people it was also used as a yoga space, concert space, a place to hang laundry and cosy film-screenings.

Now all the components of The Arch are hiberating in a container somewhere in Genk, waiting to be picked up and (re)arranged!




Part of the project:

The Arch

Image Credits: O.S.T. & Bert De Backer