Paleizenstraat 153 - 1030 Brussels
T 022444430 F 022444431 E

Transformation of a Garage into housing, a cooperative food market, a neighbourhood kitchen, etc.

Category :
A former garage in a typical Brussels’ building block is set to be transformed into a combination of functions: housing, a cooperative food market, a neighbourhood kitchen, food related ateliers, as well as a theatre space that can serve as an extension to next door’s La Tricoterie. To best respond to the program and its diverse users, the project proposes a flexible approach. A simple and clear spatial structure will allow different appropriations in the day-to-day management of the different activities, but also in the long run throughout the life of the building.

Above all, the project strategy is to recover, reuse and recycle the existing infrastructure to reduce (grey) energy consumption upstream. The reuse of construction elements from the site or from other structures is a second way of reactivating the existing.

As a way of uniting the different actors, we propose to create a common level directly linked to the street, allowing all public activities (market hall, auditorium, bar) to have easy access. A sequence of four parts can be distinguished starting from the rue Théodore Verhaegen:

-- The house on the street, in which temporary housing is installed. Therefore, each floor is designed as an entity, which can be separated into different smaller units when needed.
-- The hall is a large open space that is central to the distribution of flows in the project. The plan is free, the food cooperative can appropriate the space as needed. In the evening, the cooperative can be closed off and the hall becomes a foyer. The bar and restaurant area remain open.
-- A functional section, a new structure, built between the two large spaces that it connects (the food cooperative and the auditorium), which accommodates the services, circulation, kitchen, and office space.
--The cultural hall, which is built as a "box-in-box" to achieve the best acoustic performance for the hall as well as the neighbourhood. This way, the hall is not just a copy of the spaces that La Tricoterie already offers, but it allows to attract a different type of events. It is entirely versatile thanks to the modular seating, an upper balcony, and natural light inlets.

The lower level is organised along the same lines as the ground floor and houses the less public functions. There are two distinct parts: The ateliers, benefiting from natural light and a small garden at the rear of the plot, and the food cooperative's storage, just below the hall.

By removing superfluous annexes to the house and the roof of the old garage deck, outdoor spaces can be created on the plot. A first outdoor space is situated in front of the entrance to the hall. At the rear, the roof of the annex is removed, and an open area is thus created at the end of the plot.

These spaces not only provide breathing space between the functions, but above all allow the house and the hall to become clear entities on the site for a better reception flow. These new open spaces will be planted with a variety of species.

(Extracts from the Competition Proposal)