A HI-MACS® façade for Bershka, on the historic shopping street of Meir, in Antwerp
The shop windows and façade are the calling card of a business and crucial for the perception of the whole brand. This is especially true for the stylish products such as young fashion – and even more so, when the shop is on the prestigious Meir in Antwerp (Belgium).
The exterior of its Belgian branch was therefore extremely important for the Spanish company Bershka: modern looks, with a sophisticated vibe that would draw attention to the window dressing, were details just as important as durability and resistance. The architects of Boud Rombouts and the façade specialists from Apers & Partners choose HI-MACS® solid suface material. The non-porous, homogeneous suface is high quality and smooth, but at the same time robust, weather-resistant, impact-resistant and easy to clean. Even graffiti can be removed without leaving a trace! The HI-MACS® sheets are also lightweight, strong and fixed invisibly.
But the real challenge of this project was the preservation: The Bershka store consists of a total of 5 buildings (Mier 37-39 and Lange Klarenstraat 22-26). The corner house Mier 39 and the building Lange Klarenstraat 22 belong to the cultural heritage of the Flemish region. Right on the corner there is also an historic Madonna statue. So during the renovation of this historic building not only was the city of Antwerp involved, but also the Flanders region.
The brief was to keep some listed façade parts but also include some modern, new pieces. For the relationship between old and new, HI-MACS® proved to be the perfect material: The HI-MACS® acrylic stone slabs in Alpine White have a similar appearance to the historic facades. They have a smooth surface and were chosen in a glossy white finish. So they provide the dynamic forms of the surface with an attractive, deep effect. With their thermal plasticity and the possibility of seamless joins, the details could be worked out, which resemble the components of the original façade parts. The front window is edged with antracite plates of HI-MACS® (Steel Grey), forming a contrast to the ancient architectural elements and give the displays inside a proper framework.
The combination of history, hi-tech and young fashion for Bershka in this setting has been made possible using the unique properties of HI-MACS®, achieving the perfect blend of old and new.
Seamlessly fixed to the wall
The amazing design possibilities and functional advantages of HI-MACS®, as a façade material, are particularly evident in non-weight-bearing ventilated façades such as the one here in Antwerp. Heat insulation and weather proofing are functionally separate areas in this very common c0nstruction variant. This is where the unique combination of relevant properties make HI-MACS® stand out, making it ideal for outdoor use. Links on the roof, floors and window sills can also be designed inconspicuously using a special subframe structure. It connects the panels in a professional manner, leaving sufficient air space for wall insulation. The insulation material can be fitted optimally between the aluminium profiles and the back wall. Depending on the type of building, the subframe structure is implemented individually according to the architect’s instructions. The links between the HI-MACS® panels and the aluminium frame remain invisible from the outside. The incredible moisture resistance of the solid surface material also protects the façade insulation layer behind it. The space between the façade panel and the insulation material perfectly diverts moisture to the outside and allows for perfect ventilation in the summer and the winter.
INFORMATION ON THE PROJECT
Architect/Designer: Boud Rombouts Architektenatelier – Bureau Bouwtechniek
Manufacturer: Apers & Partners bvba
Façade Specialist: Apers & Partners bvba
HI-MACS® Colours: S109 Steel Grey and S28 Alpine White
HI-MACS® Supplier: Engels Design & Decoration
Photograph: Pascal Deruyck
Completion: April 2015
Information & images by courtesy of HI-MACS®
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