“In Brussels, urban development also means keeping production in the city center,” explained Kristiaan Borret, City Architect of the Belgian capital. Instead of moving existing facilities to the outskirts, they are integrated into the developing neighborhoods. Two projects of the Brussels Canal District masterplan received international recognition in 2017 by winning the 5th LafargeHolcim Awards in Europe.
More than 130 guests from architecture, urban planning and politics experienced how sustainable construction is applied in the Brussels Canal District, hosted by Holcim Belgium. Kristiaan Borret, City Architect (Bouwmeester), opened the event by advocating the central district must remain attractive for both “thinkers and makers”. It makes perfect sense to retain industry as part of the mixed-used development of the precinct, especially when taking into account the existing industrial infrastructure and the logistics advantages of the canal. The city masterplan tackles demographic, economic, social, environmental and territorial challenges for the urban (re-)development of the central district of Brussels. And to keep up with the changing needs of Brussels, its inhabitants and the environment, “masterplans need to be constantly adapted” Kristiaan Borret said.
Edward Schwarz, General Manager of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, noted that the independent jury of specialists considered Brussels to be an inspiring example of how to continue developing an urban precinct that is already highly developed. “The jury decided to declare Brussels a hotspot for sustainable development based on brilliant strategies to improve the built environment.” Two construction projects located in the Canal District by TETRA architecten and BC architects & studies were chosen to receive LafargeHolcim Awards Gold Europe 2017 ex aequo.
Creating jobs and public space
TETRA architecten from Brussels had already been acknowledged in a former Awards competition for their project “Construction materials recycling and logistics hub”. Soon to be opened, the flexible modular system of the “construction materials village” in the port of Brussels combines infrastructure with industrial and logistics activities. Annekatrien Verdickt from TETRA also presented their latest prize winning project “Adaptable structure for a garbage management company”, a facility that serves as workplace on the canal front for 500 Bruxelles Propreté employees. Both projects enable the integration of the client’s needs with (green) public spaces, while also setting aside areas for future development.
Staying local and traditional
Ken De Cooman referred to the LafargeHolcim Awards Acknowledgement prize winning “Socially-integrated office building with sustainable façade” project of BC architects & studies located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to illustrate how sustainability can be achieved by integrating traditional building materials and techniques as well as local craftsmanship to realize contemporary solutions. BC architects & studies, based in Brussels, shows that this approach also works in Europe with “Fort V” in Antwerp, a project to renovate and upgrade a warehouse into an educational facility, using compressed earth blocks from the neighborhood as well as natural local materials for insulation. Ken De Cooman stressed that sustainable construction is about respecting local design traditions, identities and materials combined with satisfying modern needs – and bringing together enthusiastic teams.
Claudia Albertini, CEO of Holcim Belgium, and Bart Daneels, Sales & Marketing Director, congratulated the winners on their projects and emphasized that the LafargeHolcim Group is engaged in sustainable development on all continents and with products and services to meet highest expectations also with regard to sustainability.See more
With their project, TETRA architecten in Brussels plan to integrate the needs of a waste management company with the rapidly developing canal district: Within the (infra-)structure, space is made available for public uses such as green areas. The carefully balanced building allows future transformations and leaves development options open – a particularly clever interpretation of the term “sustainability.” “Bringing infrastructure to the fore, the design ultimately merges economic and aesthetic considerations, offering a form of resilient architecture that turns limitations into a quality,” praised the jury.Read more » pour en savoir plus (French) » lesen Sie mehr (German) » meer weten (Flemish) »
As declared by the architects, the project – located along the Willebroek Canal in a fast-growing district of Brussels – has to satisfy the particular current needs of a waste collection company, while simultaneously being able to adapt to changing future circumstances. Addressing this double agenda, the project proposes a carefully designed framework that is both specific and general. Whereas its specificity pertains to the building’s integration in the urban fabric (establishing a green corridor between a residential neighborhood, a small park, a new courtyard, and a canal), its structure is functionally indeterminate, allowing the building to transform in time according to future needs. Its present function as a logistics hub for a garbage company stages its daily activities in the midst of a vibrant neighborhood, foregrounding the co-dependence among seemingly incompatible functions in the city.Read more » pour en savoir plus (French) » meer weten (Flemish) »
A good city has logistics: a driving force for a healthy urban metabolism
The evacuation of garbage is part of the elementary flows that make a city operative. As a logistic activity it is often considered a source of nuisance and incomprehension. However, the role of logistics and industry is vital to sustaining the success of the city’s economy. Their proximity is indispensable for efficient operation and transport. The project area has to overcome the apparent contradiction between city and logistics, between the residential area Neder-Over-Heembeek and the logistic veins of Chaussée de Vilvorde and the canal. The latter offers the city a spectacle of logistics. Showing incoming and outgoing vehicles, parking, washing and inspection areas, NET Brussel takes part in the urban theatre. Showing the activity also improves social inclusion in the city.
A good city is adaptive: a generic urban and building typology
Sustainable development requires flexible and generic building types that can adjust to changing circumstances. The building of NET Brussel is conceived within a transitional strategy. Inverting the conventional industrial box-on-a-plot typology, the building considers a spatial and economically efficient land use, concentrating outdoor space in the center of the plot. The building is designed as a base with its upper side connecting to the level of the residential area behind it, creating a new “ground level” on top. The waffled slab of concrete is able to support the large loads of vehicles (now) or light building volumes (future). Pillars at its perimeter and spans of 25m create column free double-height spaces. The resulting generic building is able to accommodate future adaptations.
A good city has greening: a central green area to buffer and to connect
The existing Meudon Park separates the residential area from the industry near the canal. The new forested area in the center of the site creates a green tentacle that connects both urban fabrics. The central green space is designed as a resilient buffer area that separates different environments while also forging a link between them. The greening is a social core at the center of the working environment. It brings people together. Employees can have a chat on the way to their cars, have lunch in summertime or organize a staff party under the trees. The greenery acts as a filter for flue gases, fine dust, and noise – caused by the vehicles of NET Brussel. The trees minimize environmental disruption and create high comfort working spaces, maintaining quality of life in the neighborhood.See more
The jury decided to award two entries with equal first place. They exemplify a new era in sustainable construction …
The Logistics Framework is sustainable because it accepts logistics as part of the function of the city and provides an …