Special Expertise And Epbd: MK Engineering
Structure: JZH & Partners
Text description provided by the architects. The initial request of the CPAS of Brussels is made in the context of a larger scale with two other projects in the same street: “Bruyn North” (200 apartments) and “Bruyn East” (50 apartments and a nursery) in front of Bruyn West. These projects fit into the city’s target to built 5000 social apartments in Brussels.
The project involves 79 apartments, a multipurpose hall and 75 parking spots. Another objective is to redesign the green space behind the project. The project exceeded expectations in regards to the client’s environmental request by making the buildings passive.
The buildings’ setting was designed with the concern of the landscape’s permeability:
- To not close off the green space view from the buildings and create a visual and physical connection from the buildings and the street to the park. Hence, each apartment has a view of the green space.
-To preserve the urbanism’s open shape that characterizes the area around the project where buildings alternate with large green spaces.
The project includes two kinds of private gardens:
- South-facing, open to the public square
- South-west, open to the public park
Sunlight and Views:
The buildings’ size varies from two to four stories in order to optimize sun exposure for each apartment.The higher the buildings are, the longer the distance is between them.
The 79 apartments are passive due to the ventilation systems with double airflow, working on the choice of materials and on construction details. The project was awarded the environmental label of “exemplary building” for 2009 by IBGE (Institute of Brussels for Environmental Management). The solar panels on the rooftop ensure hot water production. The water from the roof is collected by five citterns and the overflow is sent through drainage ditches to an infiltration pond. There, the water articulates the landscape.
Each apartment has a double orientation and profits from an optimal natural lighting, an outdoor space (garden or terrace) and views on the green space. The space between the buildings consists of private gardens but also sharing spaces for the inhabitants and public passages to the park composed of vegetable gardens, selected trees and a playground. We hope that this weave of public and private spaces will facilitate the integration of the future inhabitants in the preexistent context.
In front of the building along the street, additional rooms provide a foreground to the buildings and are designed for storage. These exterior rooms are made with wood gantries and gabions full of stones and bark. Their materials are chosen to best integrate with the landscape. The sheds surround the gardens and the parking porches.
The parking spots are dispersed on the field, semi-buried and covered with a slatted vegetated floor composed of plane trees. The buildings are designed as a part of the landscape, dug like a stair, and trimmed with light sun visor and terraces. Different sort of spaces make the transition between indoor and outdoor.