Robinson Lumber Company is excited to announce that we are a Finalist in the 2014 NWFA Wood Floor of the Year Contest.
Our entry this year is in the “Best Commercial” category and the “Member’s Choice Floor of the Year” category for the American White Oak flooring project in the Museum Hof Van Busleyden in the city of Mechelen, Belgium.
The Hof van Busleyden was originally constructed between 1505 and 1515 by Hieronymous van Busleyden, and was the first Renaissance style building in the region. From the 17th century until World War I, it housed a bank specialized in no-interest loans to the poor. The building was bombed during WWI, but rebuilt in 1938 by the City of Mechelen to serve as a Museum honoring the history of the city. In 1999, the city launched a project to renovate the inside of the building and increase the interior space from 2000m2 to 3000m2. The winners of the project were the local firms of dmvA architecten and Ontwerpbureau HLC.r, and the installation work was carried out by Rudy Dekeyser Wood Industry. The focus of the newly renovated Museum is to concentrate on 3 aspects of the city’s history: Religion, Cultural Diversity, and Craftsmanship. It is the final element which is the most interesting for the physical project, as Mechelen was historically a focal point in Europe for the woodworking industry in terms of sculpture, cabinetry and furniture making. At the turn of the last century, Mechelen was home to over 200 woodworking companies, and it is no accident that the renovation prominently features Oak as a focal point.
In order to accomplish the addition of so much space without altering the exterior of this historical building, the architects had to work vertically, creating a new underground exhibition space and an overhead loft area. The central element which ties the project together is a striking staircase entirely clad in American White Oak. The existing window openings were also lined with Oak to give a warm, honey color to the light filtering in. The downward stairwell and basement landing are also dressed entirely in American White Oak, giving a pleasing visual effect to the inviting entrance of the underground gallery space. The architects have done a fantastic job of making an underground space both light and comfortable, and the craftsmanship of the installers is a tribute to their workmanship and attention to detail. We hope that this project will serve as an example to other designers and architects around the world of what can be accomplished with the versatile and sustainable material that is American White Oak.
To see images of this project, please go to our “Projects” page