The challenge during the renovation of Grand-Hornu’s cafeteria was working on a classified site. Any intervention on a classified site must be reversible. Self-supporting structures may neither be anchored to the floor, nor to the wall. Furthermore, the allocated budget was very limited. The mission was to transform Grand-Hornu’s cafeteria into a multipurpose space, suitable for instance for indoor school picnics, reunions, workshops, informal gatherings.
In use since the early 1990s, the space suffered from a lack of comfort and user- friendliness, due to its oversized dimension, its cold materials (blue stone, glass and bare brick) and the absence of a decent view. The existing windows are too high to look outside and the furniture lacked flexibility.
To address these issues, we proposed to raise part of the floor by using slightly shifted platforms. By raising the floor level of the cafeteria a connection with the outside was created, offering a view on the esplanade. The podium also separates the cafeteria itself from the rest of the space. The use of wood brings warmth and familiarity to the place. A display system for books and objects form’s a separation between an informal lounge on one side and the more practical area of the actual cafeteria on the other.
Pictures © Tim Van de Velde