ING Headquarters

Ghent, Belgium
The design for this regional bank headquarters in the historical city of Ghent, Belgium. Sited adjacent to the Gent-Sint-Pieters railyards next to the train station, the urban context and rich cultural heritage was critical to the design solution.
Photo by Tim Fisher
Architectural Concept
The architectural concept was influenced by the beauty of Ghent's revered gothic buildings and the region's rich tradition of lace making as well as stone and diamond cutting. Building on this history, a conceptual process of carving the architectural massing resulted in a stone-like base supporting a multi-storey crystalline volume above.
Contextual Approach
The urban design guidelines called for an articulated solid tectonic form on the street side of the site while specifying glass façades with minimal articulation on the public plaza side. As such, the enclosure wrapping the base of the building transitions from solidity to transparency, from intricate relief patterning facing the street to a more subtle and smooth expression facing the plaza.
Responsive Skin
For the street elevation, a system of modular GFRC panels was designed using advanced computer scripting, creating a an economical but solid and dynamic pattern that is inspired by the tradition of architecture and design in Ghent, yet realized through 21st century materials and techniques.
No Defined Thresholds
While the transparency provided by the fritted glass enclosure of the upper portion creates premium space for the bank tenant, the openness of the lobby level also brings transparency at street level. A new public space flows through the site and accommodates the program of café and exhibition space.
Physical Models
Asymptote produced a series of physical models to explore various design approaches to convey unique design appereance of the building
Construction Phase
Due for completion in mid-2019, the videos below show construction progress. Inspired by the past, the ING HQ architecture is a sensitive urban response to the surrounding context that puts forward a new architectural language for the Ghent of today and that of the future.