Architects: MDW Architecture
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Project Team: Waterman TCA (Structural Engineer), MK Engineering (M&E Engineer)
Client: Commune de Molenbeek-St-Jean (public)
Area: 835.0 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of mdw architecture
From the architect. This project is the renovation of the former Brumétal dealer of old iron into a social housing complex composed of a 4-flat building connected by a large common open space to 3 maisonettes at the rear of the site.
This residential beacon project for the district contract « Maritime » consists in clearing and opening up the interior of the plot that was entirely built and making this portion of the street “breathe” thanks to a wide opening. It aims at giving the neighborhood a new spring through a both strong and suitable contemporary architectural and urban intervention that benefits the community, while keeping a trace of the industrial past of the neighborhood.
The general design reflects a contemporary approach based on the genius loci and on the requirements from the program. It includes different typologies of accommodations: simplex, duplex and triplex from 2 to 4 bedrooms and organised in one apartment building and 3 terrace houses at the rear of the site.
Because the site was tightly enclosed by high party walls, it was decided to clear the interior of the plot and raise the maisonettes to maximise the amount of light captured and take advantage of the best sunlight. These decisions also allowed for a garage at street level and avoided a total depollution of the site.
On the street front, the apartments have been raised and pushed back to create a first visual sequence between the road and the complex. By lowering the eastern party wall, the oppressing feeling of the interior of the plot is reduced and more light penetrates into the interior of the plot.
A large circulation area is carved within the site and creates a wide meeting and playing area for residents. Each house also features a private garden and a recessed entrance to put some distance between the front door and the public space.
Text provided by MDW Architecture