Rockpanel Metallics .as a metaphor for “De Lijn” in Antwerp

A new depot complex commissioned by the “De Lijn” transport company under the framework of the Antwerp Mobility Masterplan 2020 will be the hub of the new tram connections between the centre of the city and its eastern periphery. The architecture is the creation of Archiles architects from Geel (project architect Steven Donné) who found the inspiration and material from Rockpanel to give shape to his idea in an efficient, durable and aesthetically responsible manner.

"The new depot is primarily a functional project," according to architect Donné. "It has been designed based on a concrete track plan. Among other things there had to be enough room for at least 50 trams. The trams had to be able to drive smoothly in and out. And allowance had to be made for future expansion of both the track infrastructure as well as the building itself. The complex consists of a large depot, a workshop and an office unit. The intention was that the whole thing would be a space-saving, maintenance-friendly and cost-efficient unit. We achieved this objective."

Rockpanel and the dynamic of mobility

Rockpanel was part of the architect's plan from the start. "Rockpanel hangs around the building like a curtain. The unique flexibility of the cladding makes it possible to bring the desired rolling movement to the structure. The building seems to accompany the traffic. It was conceived with the dynamic of the tram as a starting point."

The Rockpanel boards are installed on top of each other. This results in sleek, yet frivolous lines that literally 'underline' the function of the building. A specific element was worked into the outer layer that refers to the logo of “De Lijn”. Architect Donné: "There is a dark fleck, a smear, in the logo. We wanted to integrate this in the façade in an organic manner through the use of perforations and the positioning of the 'panel joints'. During the day you can immediately see the colour difference. In the evening and at night, the light flows from inside to outside so that precisely that part of the logo becomes visible."


The result of an ongoing collaboration

The ability to perforate, combined with the easy bonding and maintenance-friendly character of the panel, were additional reasons for choosing Rockpanel. But what particularly struck architect Donné is that Rockpanel is a team player.

“The people at Rockpanel made a huge contribution to making the impossible possible. We sat down around the table with all the parties concerned to find viable solutions together. There was a very active search to assess the practical effect of the degree of perforation. Rockpanel also built a test setup, to make everything visible and measurable."

Rockpanel Metallics as a metaphor for “De Lijn”

Rockpanel Metallics proved the best choice when responding to the decorative ideas and wishes of the architect. "ROCKPANEL Metallics provides beautiful light effects. It was exactly what we wanted. The panel has all the benefits and characteristics of the base product and is treated with an anti-graffiti finish, which is not unimportant for a public building..."

The result is a complex in which the tram really is the hero, but one that will also charm and fascinate “De Lijn”'s employees, passengers and passers-by. An exceptional example of creativity, efficiency and sustainability, signed by: “De Lijn”, ARCHILES architects and ROCKPANEL.