Report of the Booosting & Portisa excurision in Antwerp

Armed with helmet and safety shoes, four BouT members traveled to Antwerp to attend a project excursion organized by Booosting. In the middle of this port city an unused firehouse is transformed into student houses and starter houses. The building dating from the nineteenth century, with a foundation, possibly dating from medieval times, has lost some of its original glory during previous renovations. Aim of the current renovation is to regain its glory again. The focus of today’s excursion is the installation of prefabricated bathroom cells.

The afternoon starts in restaurant Via Via with four speakers who all will present a different aspect of the project. First speaker Frederike Cornoia from Portisa opens with a presentation and movie about the production process of the bathrooms. Then architect Peter-Paul Piot of Architectslab tells more about the origin of the building and how it lost some of its splendor during its use as a firehouse. Peter-Paul let us know his aim was to restore the building in its former glory. Thereafter Bart de Ley of Taxandria Aannemeingen (contractor) tells about the building site and the benefits of prefabricated elements. The last speaker is Peter Houtman of Bureau Bouwkunde, he tells about the financial aspects of the projects and again about the benefits of prefabricated elements.

After hearing the presentations, it was time to see the prefabricated bathrooms in the old firehouse with our own eyes. The project is still in its construction phase but the bathrooms were already present. On the lower floors the bathrooms were already placed at their final positions. On the higher floors the cells were scattered around the undivided space. Although the bathrooms weigh roughly 700 kilograms, moving them is not such a big a deal when a pallet jack is used. The bathrooms have a complete interior, but the exterior still needs to be clad along with the rest of the walls.

After the tour everybody returns to the restaurant for the final reading and discussion. The reading and discussion are intended to relativize the positive sounds of today’s presentations about prefabrication. Main issue is its monotony, although almost everybody agrees on the cost efficiency of prefabrication.

The day is ended with a welcome drink and a diner.

Click here to watch the movie of the production process by Portisa