When Luxembourg’s National Federation of Scouts decided to construct a new headquarters, the architects were presented with some unique challenges. Not only was the chosen site historically significant, it also contained established trees and other flora that needed to be respected.
The plot of land for the new building includes the remains of a 19th century castle – Fort Dumoulin. Excavations of the historic site were necessary before the new building could be planned. In consultation with Luxembourg’s National Site and Monument Service and the National Museum of History and Art, the architects proposed a lightweight structure with shallow foundations to avoid damage to the buried ruins.
Local firm Heisbourg Strotz Architectes (HSA) designed a building based on three rectangular volumes. The spaces house offices, a library and shop, professional kitchen, storage, and a small apartment.
Using wood, together with Indaten® weathering steel from ArcelorMittal, HSA have created a structure which blends seamlessly with its green and historic surroundings, but which has little impact on the environment. The building materials were principally chosen for their ecological characteristics which ensure the sustainability of the building, and the site.
A reinforced concrete slab is supported by shallow concrete piles which rest on the bedrock. The outer facade consists of Indaten® steel panels which will weather and develop their unique patina as the building ages. The naturalistic brownish red colour of the steel is already ensuring the new headquarters blends into the wooded site. The unique finish of Indaten® ensures that little to no maintenance is required over the lifetime of the building.
HSA included many sustainability features in the new headquarters to maintain the scouts’ connection to nature and the environment. Along with steel, wood is used extensively. A sustainable and natural material, the wood forms the structure of the building as well as the internal cladding. Cellulose thermal insulation has been included to minimise heating and cooling costs. The building’s ‘living’ roofs, inclined to define the trapezoidal shape of the facades, add to its thermal insulation and absorb water.
Indaten® steel plates have been used to form the garage doors and ventilation grills to ensure the consistency of the facade. Made with recycled steel, all of the Indaten® steel components can be fully recycled at the end of the building’s life.
In 2013, the new Scout Headquarters won the Luxembourg Steel Construction Award (co-organised with Infosteel, the steel association active in Belgium and Luxembourg) in the category of ‘Sustainable Construction’.
Like a fine wine, Indaten® weathering steel is enriched by air and enhanced with age. When exposed to the natural environment, this magical steel develops a beautiful patina within a few weeks with the final colour being achieved within one to two years.
The primary alloying material in Indaten® is copper which produces a homogeneous and regenerating protective layer over the surface. This layer retards corrosion and ensures the long-term integrity of the underlying steel. As a maintenance-free material that can last for 80 years, Indaten® weathering steel has been the product of choice for buildings, bridges and sculptures since 1930.