The café with outdoor terrace.

The central square

View on the reception desk.

Theater hall with 200 seats.

Conference rooms are available for personnel and resident groups

The empty exhibition space, before being set up.

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

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