The Arch


Genk, Belguim 2017
A project by Constructlab

On the site of an abandoned coal mine in Genk, Belgium an arch made of recycled plastic forms a gateway to the site. A temporary laboratory was established to design bricks from recycled plastic. The shape of the plastic arch itself is designed to exploit the properties of its material, which has a predominant resistance in compression. Because plastic is lightweight, post tensioning cables are necessary to provide extra strength and stiffness against wind loads. The resulting hybrid system in the shape of a catenary arch allows for a high performing structure while being easily assembled. The entire brick consists of local, recycled domestic plastic waste.