Provincial Government Building Namur: sustainability at its best

Every building needs a builder as its father and a designer as its mother. That is why Jan De Nul, together with engineer and architect Dr Philippe Samyn M Sc. have been working on challenging projects for 20 years, with energy always at the forefront. The provincial government building in Namur is no exception. "Together, we have put up a revolutionary building that sets an example in terms of sustainability", says Samyn. "The natural stack effect makes it also COVID-proof."

The headquarters of the European Council 'Résidence Palace' in Brussels, the office buildings of Jan De Nul and soon the revalorisation of Place Matuvu in Knokke: Philippe Samyn and Jan De Nul have already built quite a track record together. In 2020, another gem was added: the provincial government building in Namur. In this innovative building, the Province of Namur brings together almost all its departments. The power supply is generated by photovoltaic cells and a geothermal heat pump.

"Together, we have put up a revolutionary building that sets an example in terms of sustainability", says Samyn. “The stack effect ensures natural ventilation. There is no need for automatic ventilation, the whole building is fully COVID-proof. In the Iranian desert, they have been using this technique for thousands of years. If it works there, it will most definitely work here as well."

Energy-efficient buildings

Efficient energy management is a constant feature in the projects of Samyn and Jan De Nul. In the contractor, the designer finds the ideal partner to realise his vision of sustainability. "The monetary unit in the world, in my opinion, is not the dollar, the yen or the euro but the joule", says Dr Philippe Samyn M Sc. "No matter how energy-efficient your building is, first you have to build it as cost-effectively as possible. And it should be useful and habitable for society for as long as possible. Jan De Nul goes along with that philosophy."

As for the provincial government building in Namur, Samyn looks back on a perfect collaboration: "I always enter into discussions with my colleagues at Jan De Nul with complete confidence. That creates room for reflection. Jan De Nul is always looking for improvements and solutions. At Place Matuvu in Knokke, for example, I wanted to incorporate coins in black concrete without CO2. Impossible according to the concrete industry. And yet, thanks to its open mind and comprehensive network of contacts, Jan De Nul made it happen.”

Realising dreams

From the first meeting with Jan De Nul, Samyn felt the right energy. "The ships reminded me of my father, who was an engineer. Jan De Nul's love of art took me back to my mother, an artist. I immediately felt at home with the De Nul family and the way they run their business. Their employees are given the trust and the opportunity to work things out for themselves. Jan De Nul has the expertise and experience to realise what I dream of."

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