Demonstration box for circular construction within De Potterij

De Potterij in Mechelen is a former laundry and dry cleaning shop. Due to these former activities, the soil beneath the shop is heavily contaminated.

In 2015, OVAM, the Public Waste Agency for Flanders, bought the site for the symbolic sum of one euro to remediate the pollution. As the cost for this remediation is almost 2 million euros, it greatly surpasses the value of the land and building. OVAM is determined to translate this vast investment into societal benefit. A concession for 25 years was granted to the city of Mechelen to transform the site into a local circular hub, together with OVAM. While this transformation process is ongoing, temporary occupation was sought, keeping the circular character in mind. 

Miss Miyagi and BUUR won a Circular Flanders Open Call grant for their project proposal to design a circular, temporary occupation for the site. With help from DMOA Architects, VUB, VITO, Thomas More, VDAB, de Klusbib and over 19 circular suppliers, the demonstration box for circular construction was built within the Potterij building. This was also the basis for OVAM’s Interreg NSR ProCirc pilot, that focussed on an unconventional procurement, trading circular materials for exposure. With this pilot scheme, OVAM wants to lead by example and hopes to inspire professional procurers and citizens to opt for circular alternatives. Furthermore, it is a laboratory for the suppliers of circular construction materials, where they can examine how their products can be connected in situ. The box also provides comfortable conditions for the temporary occupants of the Potterij. 

The demonstration box can also be visited online via a virtual tour. This allows for a broad exposure of the circular materials and techniques that were used. The texts are in Dutch only, but even without reading them the virtual tour might offer an inspiring experience.

Access the publication here