Paleizenstraat 153 - 1030 Brussels
T 022444430 F 022444431 E

Renovation of a housing tower

Location :
Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, Brussels
Team :
AgwA + Zed
Subcontractors :
Bollinger+Grohmann, Enesta, Tech3, Codives
Planning :
Category :
The modernist idea of social housing, more precisely high-rise buildings to free up a maximum of common green spaces, was translated here by Brunswyck and Wathelet in 1972. The question of its future arises today. The buildings of the second half of the twentieth century are an exciting opportunity in terms of heritage. If they have often been condemned in the past - and demolished - their historical qualities - aesthetic, technological and social - are gradually being rediscovered.

The project proposed here is nourished by this reflection. We must avoid a "replacement" aesthetic, which will obviously be obsolete in a few years, and would then have to be scrapped again. Rather than applying a new homogeneous identity, we seek to create a coherent project, which makes targeted interventions legible, while allowing the existing building to breathe. This means that the building, much like the city, is open to future transformations.

In addition to our proposals for the development of the tower itself, and the proposals for the space on the rue Saint-Martin side, we suggest connecting the floors of the two towers by a raised platform at the right of rue Brunfaut, to encourage soft mobility and propose a more generous space, more in scale with the buildings, rather than small residual public spaces.

At the building level, the project foresees the opening of the first floor to guarantee a greater porosity of the base and a north/south transparency for the passer-by. On the one hand, it is a question of creating a lobby on the east side that gives directly onto three faces of the building to link all the floors, to favor circulations and social control. We recommend creating an "equipment" space rather than reinstalling a ground floor apartment. This would also be a source of economy in the project. Finally, in the long term, and in order not to reduce the capacity of the tower, housing could be created on the roof.

To improve the surroundings of the Brunfaut Street tower, several actions are proposed.Planted landscaping to guarantee a continuity of the green network in the neighborhood: planting of trees and demineralization of the unbuilt parts; games and equipment imagined in the small garden to ensure an intergenerational appropriation; the realization of a wadi to participate in the effort of infiltration of rainwater on the site and to be accompanied by an adapted vegetation; etc.

(Extracts from the Competition Proposal)