Goffart Polomé Architectes
Wanfercée-Baulet, BE

Goffart Polomé Architectes is a practice founded in 2012 in the outskirts of Charleroi, Belgium. Founded by Damien Goffart and Brice Polomé, and later joined by Marie Maerckx, the atelier’s approach proceeds from a rational and holistic perspective rather than formal or discursive concerns with projects that explore the potential of the place they are located in.

 

Starting a studio and winning competitions 

We both graduated at the Institut Supérieur d’Architecture Saint-Luc of Brussels (today, LOCI). Friends since then, we even lived a year together in the same apartment. At the beginning of our professional life, one of us started to work in some Belgian offices while the other decided to try an international professional experience in Switzerland. In 2012, when we were both back in Belgium, we founded the office. The beginnings were quite promising: two of our first three competition projects won the first prize. In 2016, Marie Maerckx joined our team and became a partner in 2019.

 

Paying attention to good storytelling

As a young office, it may be hard to make our mark in the sector. We must be astute and think outside the box. But, the most important thing is the way the architect recounts his/her project to the client or the developer. Today’s architects are principally narrators who tell the same story differently depending on the public (not always professional) that is listening. In several cases, offices that succeed in designing architecture for projects, where rentability was the keyword, does so by paying attention to the way the story is narrated using a plural language, playing with the imagination or using numbers for instance.

 

Maintaining a continuous organisation

The office space ensures the protection of private life. The organisation of the workload is based on what is forecasted and intermediate deadlines. Working late at night is not common in the office. Collaborators are free to come and leave at the time they want because our strategy is based on personal consciousness and mutual respect. The atmosphere at the office is relaxed and friendly but also professional and productive. As a small office of 10 collaborators, the relationship between partners and juniors is continuous and easy.

 

Division of roles

The work space is divided into two different floors: partners and juniors. Even though the hierarchical structure is spatially defined for some trivial reasons, the relation and between them is continuous and the work is collective. The office is managed by three partners each responsible for a specific task: Damien Goffart runs the office and is responsible for the executive aspects (building site, pricing and so on). Brice Polomé works on the design process, competitions and is responsible for the customers’ relationships. Finally, Marie Maerckx oversees the redaction of planning permissions.

 

Accepting the economic situation of the sector

The expectation of the job is often quite different of the professional reality, especially in Belgium. After a few years’ experience, we realised the importance of the way architects explain their projects. Trickery, persuasion and subtlety are issues as important as spatial qualities to make a mark. Our will was to have consciousness of the current situation of the sector and to continuously fight to align our architectural desires with the economic issues in order to give thoughtful solutions to projects whose initial unique intention was to make some money.

 

Taking up more ambitious projects

Our principal ambition is the realisation of our largest projects such as the project of a large-scale business park in Charleroi, Belgium (Left Side Business Park) that is currently under administrative review. In a more general way, we hope to design sustainable and adaptive projects that will last decades or more. This is why we work to imagine flexible projects that can host different programs like we did for the project of the new Headquarters of the Credit Social Based in Charleroi, Belgium (stories that can host housing units, open offices, mixed-use offices).

Founders Brice Polome

Office 1 Brice Polome

Office 3 Brice Polome

CreditSocial Brice Polome

Office 2 Brice Polome

 

Photography Courtesy of Goffart Polomé






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