North East elevation containing the main entrance of the visitor centre.

View on the South East facade.

The café with outdoor terrace.

The central square and the café in the back.

Vestibule on the second floor with a view to the exhibition spaces and the central square below.

Office space with a view on the landscape park.

Multipurpose space with direct access to the landscape park.

Tempory exhibition space.

Theater hall with 200 seats.

Reception and touristic service.

Meeting room.

The empty exhibition space, soon to be set up.

View from the second to the first main exhibition space.

Voids penetrate the exhibition floor and bring daylight into the central square.

View through the concrete cross wall.

Tabloo, a Visitor Centre for a Nuclear Waste Disposal Facility


Ground floor

Second floor

First floor



Designing a visitor centre for a nuclear waste disposal site is an exceptional task. Since the technology is relatively recent, the meaning and interpretation of the building will certainly evolve. This demands a flexible approach. Together with our team members from ONO architecture, we felt that the building should be as unusual as the subject matter. The design seeks connections with the nuclear facility in an attempt to automatically draw people towards the subject. The proposed building has two sections: an imposing but timeless structure resembling a 12-metre-high floating table (housing the permanent displays) and a lighter interpretation beneath (for the versatile programme of halls and offices). The order and consistency of the dominant structure tempers the informal elaboration, while the adventurousness of the latter lends scale to the impressive form.

  • Design teamDirk Somers, Eline Aerts, Federica Altobelli, Joni Nieuwenhuysen, Thomas Faes, Marius Grootveld, Carole Boeckx, Gosia Olchowska, Brecht Casier, Wolfram Winter and Matilde Everaert
  • LocationDessel
  • Year2013 - 2021
  • ClientNIRAS
  • ProgramParticipation process, communication center (with info point, exhibition spaces, multi-purpose hall with auditorium for 200 people, cafeteria, office and staff rooms, meeting rooms and archive) and landscape park for the integrated project of surface disposal of category A waste
  • In collaboration withONO Architecture
  • PhotographyFilip Dujardin