08.07.2014 Back to overview

Bouwen aan Vlaanderen: ‘Permanent Location for Open Innovation in Logistics in Laakdal’

By constructing the Logistic Innovation and Training Centre (LITC) in Laakdal the Intercommunale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij voor de Kempen (IOK) wishes to support innovation in logistics. The project is pioneering as far as the application of the open innovation model in logistics. The design of the building aims at excellent energy performance and convenience.

Open innovation is the practice of enterprises to exchange innovative ideas with others. Open innovation is opposed to closed innovation, where companies fence off their own innovations by means of patents. The IOK commissioned the construction and could rely on European support. After the approval by the European Fund for Regional Development and the Flemish Government the first stone was laid in the end of 2012 on the Nike ELC site in Laakdal.

signum+ architects designed – in collaboration with Technum – the building that was constructed by Democo. The building will be managed by the non-profit organization vzw LITC, which has three partners: Nike, Thomas More hogeschool and KU Leuven.

Innovation in Logistics

Due to its central location, its concentration of different ways of transport (water, railways and roads), its nearness to world ports and important markets de Kempen is a logistic and distribution centre par excellence. Flanders has marked the logistic industry as key industry for its future economical growth. But the pressure on logistic activities grows: companies request fast customized deliveries, wish to reduce stocks and want to optimize their transport and operational costs.
The project is pioneering as far as the application of the open innovation model in logistics. Companies collaborate with the academic world to create fundamental innovation of logistic concepts while the government facilitates the process. Through research and development projects durable solutions in logistics are stimulated, from alternative energy sources for transport to new planning algorithms which minimize the need for transport and maximize efficiency.

An Inspiring Environment

The Building is located on the peninsula in the existing pond and is accessible via the pedestrian bridge. A walkable green roof is integrated between the existing and new trees and constitutes an acoustic shield against the noises of the highway.
In the direction of the Nike terrain the building opens up to the light and the water, creating an inspiring environment in which training is given. A bit further down the E313 highway is located. Along the side of the pond the façade is finished with a thermal preserved wooden cladding.
On the ground floor there are four classrooms and a training room. The large foyer connects the different rooms. The first floor houses a management board hall and two auditoria with seating capacity of 100 people each. All rooms share common facilities and face the best features of the location, the pond surrounded by trees and plants.

Sustainable design

The designers aimed at the Breeam Outstanding sustainability label. Excellent energy performances were obtained by using materials with a high insulation value for floor, roof and walls. The used materials are cradle-to-cradle certified, FSC-labelled and VOC free. The climate control units make use of the water from the pond to heat or cool the building. Water purification will be done via a reed plot near the building. Tap water is only used as drinking water and to flush the toilets water from the pond will be used. To achieve acoustic comfort inside the building materials with a high level of sound absorption are used. The green roof mutes the noise of the surroundings.

Technical data

Principal: IOK, Geel
Architect: signum+ architects, Ghent
Engineering: Technum
Principal building contractor structure and finishings: Democo, Hasselt
Land Conveyor: Teugels, Temse
Entrance Door: Tormax, Melle
Movable walls: FDS, Drongen
Aluminium curtain walls: Vogt, Kerkrade (Ned.)
Start of the works: end of 2012
End of the works: beginning of 2014

bron: Bouwen Aan Vlaanderen – 2014 nr2