Powerhouse Company has completed ‘t Loon shopping centre in Heerlen, a city in the southern Netherlands. The project was commissioned by Dutch real estate investor NSI after a sinkhole caused part of the building to collapse in 2011. The architects have completely transformed the complex into an open and welcoming space to attract visitors.
The design of the revitalized building was created around the idea of drawing people in, focusing on four major elements: a new entrance canopy, vertical facade, car park and public square. The new 4,000 m² plaza featuring a central garden and plenty of timber seating encourages informal gatherings and a place to relax and enjoy good weather. This external area is punched through with openings into the car park below, elevating the driving experience and pouring light into a previously dark and dank space.
The new facade completely opens up to the outdoors with the retail being visible from the square, and the square from the retail space. Lighting designed by Powerhouse Company between the Accoya high-performance timber posts reflects on the golden aluminium window sidings to give the building a calming glowing hue at night.
A rounded corner on the right side of the facade softens the classical composition and straight lines of the facade, and guides pedestrians towards the entrance of the shopping centre.
The entrance, connecting the retained 1960s building and the renovation, is a double-height space distinguished by its slender white aluminium and steel floating external canopy. Inside, the retail space, currently occupied by C&A, is designed to accommodate changing uses and circumstances over time. A large void providing natural daylighting has the potential to be filled for future internal expansion.
Located on a sensitive geographical site which saw shallow mining until the 1950s, the building has been designed to withstand further potential ground movements. The car park is constructed from massive structural concrete beams that work as a bridge crossing the plot. Powerhouse Company’s renovation has secured and updated the shopping centre for it to prosper again long into the future.
Architecture: Powerhouse Company
Timescales: 2012 – 2015
Location: Heerlen, the Netherlands
Collaboration: Philip Vencken, Architecten aan de Maas
Area: 10,000m² (total); 1,500m² (retail), 4,000m² (square), 4,500m² (car park)
Partner in charge: Nanne de Ru
Project leader: Paul Stavert
Team: Stefan Prins, Nanne de Ru, Ard-Jan Lootens
Structural Engineering: IMD Raadgevende Ingenieurs
Contractor: LAUDY Bouw & Ontwikkeling
Photography: Ronald Tilleman
*All images and information courtesy of Powerhouse Company.