The idea of a place where you live, work and play may seem à la mode . But in reality, mixed-developments have been around since the empire era, when romans themselves built multi-use complexes to live, manufacture and sell in the same building.
Located along one of Brussel’s arterial roads, Haren provides the city with a new home for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), as well as new housing options for the fast growing population. The development will create 123 new homes, a business park for SME, two parking lots and landscape amenities for the common use. Figuring as industrial zone in Bruxelles-Capital urban space, the site currently comprises approximately 15 000 m² of warehouses, 2000 m² office area and 1370 m² surface dedicated to showrooms.
The aim was to turn a former industrial site into its own compact town where the old and the new, the industrial and the residential, where working space and living space can coexist on an equal footing. Allocating different activities and various levels of privacy within one space raised new challenges such as careful pipelines planning, well-curated community spaces and a thorough understanding of what renters need.
Existing buildings are converted into working spaces as the entire plot of the script comprises three main acts: 1) the partial demolishment of warehouses creating footpaths and public spaces, 2) the renovation of many of the existing structures into more responsive and contemporary buildings and 3) the construction of three residential blocks providing additional accommodation.
The warehouses, situated in the core of the site, are converted into a co-living area hosting a co-working space, coffee-shops, restaurants, a shared library, as well as showrooms and SME units. Comprising all together 123 apartments with different typologies from studio to five rooms, the residential buildings are clustered in the south-eastern side of the business park. Almost all apartment units benefit from a double exposure, either through a crossing typology, either through a corner position. The site's new configuration, with rather tall residential buildings overlooking the street and the core of the site is an outcome of adapting Jane Jacobs's concept of eyes on the street:
There must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street.
Large window bays randomly placed cut into the rather monolithic structures. The facades include several balconies and terraces that provide vista points, thus adding benefits to the security and safety of the complex. whereas balconies and terraces add more character to the buildings. The facades of the residential buildings are mostly covered by a white cladding and they stand on a natural stone base, visually connecting all the buildings.
The architecture of the business park is contemporary, proposing practical buildings with a clean-cut character, thus allowing the site to maintain a certain relevance in time. Engaged materials vary from concrete and steel to glass and polycarbonate providing depth to the streetscape and versatility to the display.
The site provides a variety of accessible green areas as public spaces are central to the dynamics of the neighbourhood. Kitchen gardens are combined with trees and grassy lawns, playgrounds and shared gardens that encourage community interaction, horticulture, and active outdoor living, Trees and clumps located at the foot of the residential buildings provide privacy. The project introduces innovative parking solutions and landscaping solutions with an efficient stromwater management. Different types of materials and plants are alternating in the middle of the site to reduce pollution and support heavy traffic.
Type: residential, retail, mixed-use, industrial
Status: under construction
Team: Gilles Dehareng, Jean-François Laloux, Razvan Vingan, Youssef Oueld El Hachemi, Jéremy Gillard, Michaël Elias
Client: FUTURN ALBERT s.a., IMMO PRINSEN s.a.