CLIENT                KULeuven
YEAR                   2017
LOCATION           Brussels, Belgium
PRIZES                Best Bachelor project KUL, 2017
CO AUTHORS      Oskar Vanhulst, Sam Neel, Adriaan Vandaele
TAGS                   Architecture, DrawingMedium, Image, Model

- From a post industrial to a productive city by juxtaposing industry and modernism -

Our site is located next to the Abattoir -a magnet for trading activities since 1888- and the Canal of Brussels. It will be the new productive spine of Brussels with a variety of new industries. A place where the boundary between the thinkers and the makers will fade, where research, creativity and production come together with a circular economy. Due to the dedication and diversity within the community, a new climate for a lively ecosystem where collaborations can arise. A dream of living, working, facilities and self- sufficiency in one location. It is important to make the production processes attractive and to show them to the public in order to create a vibrant community. This approach is more environmentally-friendly, reduces commuting and brings many jobs for the low- skilled.

The Canal zone in Molenbeek has a vibrant industrial past and even now with its immensive second-hand car trade. Where, according to the modernist approach, this fascinating, historical layer is wiped away to place serial objects on it, our intervention forms a juxtaposition of the two urban structures. The whole site will be a carpet, a reinterpreted layer of halls that reflects the industrial character, with pure objects placed on them. These objects define the surrounding space so that there is a fascinating ambiguity between on the one hand ‘boring’, generic volumes and on the other hand a strong urban presence.

The beam is considered a mass in which utilitarian volumes are drilled, such as passages, circulation routes, work and wet rooms ... There is no hierarchy in the remaining mass; every place is as important as the other. The beam is a naked skeleton where each individual element is as much façade, as structure, as space.The structure determines the geometric expression of the façade resembling an everlasting yard. Depending on the view, the building can be interpreted as a monolithic wall or as a permeable grid. The housing has a uniform facade so there is no mutual hierarchy. On the inside of the site, the dynamic facade opens to the squares via protruding terraces and wide entrance zones. Here the interaction between the different residents at different heights is stimulated.

The gallery offers more breathing space for the pedestrians and stimulates commercial activities. It makes the connection with the public square and the canal along the productive work halls. Pedestrians walk into the void of the halls. Through optical illusions, the gallery seems longer or shorter, higher or lower, tangible or overdimensioned from certain angles. Where in the public places the length of the beam is emphasized, it is broken in the collective circulation spaces. The corridors have been made wider so that social interaction is possible. A perimeter gallery is created between the wooden built-in apartments and the concrete shell equipped with wooden shutters as a buffer for the busy street and in addition to sunlight filtering also create privacy around the house. The spatial qualities of the dwellings are defined by the functional objects designed as homelike furniture pieces.




© Studio Narra 2021