Corda Campus Hasselt_Architectural steelworks_TCS_Timmers

Corda Campus: refurbishing a manufacturing facility

A stimulating collaborative effort
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4 minutes

Corda Campus in Hasselt, Belgium, is rapidly becoming one of the most coveted workplaces in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion. The former Philips manufacturing plant and research centre is being converted into a tech campus, fostering innovation, collaboration and co-creation. The process of renovating and furnishing the Corda A and B buildings was itself an energizing collaborative effort.


The idea for Corda Campus emerged in the years following the closure of the Philips manufacturing and research plant in Hasselt. Once employing thousands of workers, Philips Hasselt closed its doors in 2002 after disruptive evolution in the global electronics market. Procos Group, an Antwerp based company, specialists in space planning and facility management consulting, then put forward a masterplan to convert the site, involving both the renovation of existing Philips buildings and the construction of new offices and labs.


Reminiscent of the industrial past

First, an eye-catching incubator building was erected, housing several technology and service start-ups. More recently, additional office and laboratory space was created by renovating and refurbishing the 3000 m² Philips production buildings. Procos Group architect Irina Vassileva elaborates on the challenges presented by the project: “We wanted to transform this old facility into an inspiring work environment where collaboration and co-creation are stimulated. Target companies would include small start-ups of a few people right up to larger companies or innovation cells with maybe sixty employees. Space organization needed to be fully optimized for both types of companies. User comfort and energy efficiency had to be top class—no compromises on that—but we also wanted the place to remain reminiscent of its industrial past. And an important practical aspect was timing: the renovation had to be completed inside six months.”

An important practical aspect was the timing: the renovation had to be completed inside six months

A warm atmosphere throughout

Procos developed a modular space concept, arranging a series of private dual-level units around a large open space, which functions as a coworking area. Within the open space, open and enclosed boxes with meeting rooms and specific workstations were created. The strict time constraints made the construction of concrete walls and floors impossible, so steel and wood were the materials of choice. Irina Vassileva: “The use of steel was perfectly in line with our ambition to honour the building’s industrial past. We emphasized this further by exposing cables, ducts and HVAC equipment. Together with the woodwork we were able to create a distinctive but warm atmosphere throughout.”

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The building’s industrial past is honoured by using steel and by exposing cables, ducts and HVAC equipment.

Allowed to open windows

A high level of user comfort was achieved through a combination of energy efficient techniques. “Spaces are almost entirely heated and cooled by air,” explains Vassileva. “There are only very few radiators in the building. We also managed to achieve a ventilation rate of 60 m³ per person per hour, the highest standard. Even then, people can open windows whenever they feel like it.”

A particular challenge was bringing enough daylight into the coworking space. “The roof was already covered in solar panels, so we couldn’t create new skylight openings. We therefore used tubular skylight systems to redirect and reinforce the light coming in through the existing openings. We really stretched everything to the limit to achieve the required comfort and efficiency.”


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LEAN techniques were used to streamline and manage the construction process

Raising the commitment level

LEAN techniques were used to streamline and manage the construction process. But Vassileva above all praises the collaborative atmosphere during the project. “I enjoyed this project like no other. We managed to fully engage all the contractors and subcontractors within the construction team, establishing tight interpersonal relations and raising the commitment level of everyone involved. That really helped us to properly address emerging issues and make sure the deadlines were met.”


Corda Campus general contractor Kumpen hired TCS to engineer and manufacture the steel structures of the Corda A building.

  • 140 tonnes of steel, most of it R30 fire protected
  • Platforms connected to existing structure
  • Nine staircases
  • Measuring, engineering of joints, and manufacturing
  • Entrance 18 tonnes of steel

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