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120% Brussels International Master Class

120% Brussels

International Master Class

Date September 5–17, 2011 Place Brasseries Belle-Vue, Brussels Masters Christ & Gantenbein Architects Basel, CH Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen Brussels, BE Participants 35 young professionals 15 nationalities


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This master class was organized in 2011 by Architecture Workroom Brussels, supported by the Secretary of State in charge of Urbanism for the Brussels-Capital Region, in the framework of the Building for Brussels program.

Architecture Workroom Brussels Joachim Declerck Roeland Dudal Elise François Philippe De Clerck

Master tutors Christ & Gantenbein Architects, Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen

ASSISTANTS Victoria Easton Guillaume Yersin

Participants Emina Adilagic, Zohal Bashariar, Janik Beckers, Tim Brans, Filippo Cattapan, David de Kool, Alejandra Dominguez Delucchi, Denisse Florea, Arthur Goetinck, Christoph Hiestand, Arno Hofer, Jean-Benoit Houyet, Tom Janssens, Zuzanna Koltowska, Iana Kozak, Mostafa Mahdy, Loes Martens, Nassim Mehran, Sophie Mélix, Mihaela Meslec, Antonio Minto, Caterina Naglieri, Paolo Oliva, Stefan-Radu Pintilie, Filippo Piovene, Robbert Peeters, Catherine Pyck, Giorgio Renzi, Pietro Salamone, Guido Tesio, Sandrine Tonnoir, Julian Trachsel, Pauline Varloteaux, Marrit Winkeler, Jing Zhang.

Jury Joachim Declerck Michiel Dehaene Mona Farag Eric Lapierre Freek Persyn Valérie Lambot Anne-Sophie Walazyc


120% Brussels International Master Class


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Foreword About two years ago, I was able to launch Building for Brussels in the Center for Fine Arts. This large exhibition highlighted numerous examples of proactive policies throughout Europe, which led to the development of high quality architecture. Since then, my commitment to extending knowledge and expertise led to a wide array of initiatives. Round tables, a publication, conferences and more, helped to feed the debate around the operational transformation of Brussels in an increasingly concrete way. The 120% Brussels Master Class forms another step in this process. I deemed it essential to give to the young generation of international architects and urban planners, to the generation that will experi足ence our urban growth, the opportunity to imagine the city of tomorrow. Brussels must initiate change and adapt to the demographic boom, the effect of which can already be felt

today, as the Brussels Region is facing two major and seemingly paradoxical challenges. On the one hand, urban exodus will have to be halted by providing quality affordable housing for the middle class to stay within the city. On the other hand, a sufficient amount of social housing has to be built in order to host the ever-increasing population. These two chal足lenges are inseparable and must be the subject of a common approach. Recent estimates predict a need for 50.000 new homes by 2020, a majority of which should be social housing. It also seems crucial to me that quality of housing be put forward as a fundamental contribution to the quality of life in the city. With the ongoing elaboration of a new regional sustainable development plan (PRDD), the Brussels Government has already initiated a large process, which will result in a global long-term vision for Brussels in the fields of spatial planning, mobility, economic


120% Brussels International Master Class

development or densification of housing. The partial modification of the Regional Land Use Plan (PRAS d辿mographique) will also provide answers concerning optimal use of available land and the definition of new densities for areas in the prox足imity of public transport. Besides strategic plan足ning for the region, it is also essential to develop thinking around the concrete densification of the existing urban fabric, on an architectural scale. This is why I wanted to make this first master class possible, as an exploration in capacities of the territory both for densification and typological innovation, and to provide insights that will help translate a quantitative need for housing development into a qualitative policy and into comfortable living spaces for the citizens. On a yearly basis, these Master Classes will tackle the challenges Brussels has to face and develop a solid base of

Emir Kir Secretary of State Brussels-Capital Region

knowledge, which will allow us to seize the oppor足 tunities and contribute to defining the transformation of the city. Emir Kir Secretary of State responsible for Urban Planning Brussels-Capital Region


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Préface Il y a près de deux ans, j’inaugurais Construire Bruxelles au Palais des Beaux Arts, une exposition d’envergure qui a mis en lumière toute une série de politiques volontaristes en Europe, donnant lieu à des architectures de qualité. Depuis lors, j’ai confirmé mon engagement dans l’approfondissement des connaissances et des expertises, par tout une série d’initiatives (tables rondes, publication, conférences, etc.) afin de nourrir le débat sur l’opérationnalisation de la transformation de Bruxelles, et ce de plus en plus concrètement. Le Master Class 120% Brussels est une étape en plus dans ce processus de réflexion. Il me paraissait en effet essentiel de permettre à la jeune génération d’architectes et d’urbanistes internationaux, qui sera celle qui vivra la croissance urbaine, d’imaginer la ville de demain. Bruxelles doit entamer sa mutation, s’adapter à l’explosion démographique dont elle

connaît déjà actuellement les premiers effets. La Région bruxelloise se trouve aujourd’hui confrontée à deux défis démographiques de taille et apparemment paradoxaux: d’une part, freiner l’exode urbain en prévoyant des logements de qualité et abordables, susceptibles de maintenir la classe moyenne en ville, et d’autre part, construire suffisamment de logements sociaux pour loger la population en constante augmentation. Ces deux aspects sont indissociables et doivent faire l’objet d’une approche commune. Selon des prévisions récentes, Bruxelles aura ainsi besoin de 50.000 nouveaux logements d’ici 2020, dont de nombreux logements sociaux. Par ailleurs, il me paraît essentiel de miser sur la qualité du logement, qui participe amplement à la qualité de vie urbaine des citoyens. Avec le l’élaboration du Plan régional de développement durable (PRDD) le Gouvernement bruxellois a d’ores et déjà lancé un vaste chantier qui


120% Brussels International Master Class

apportera une vision globale sur l’avenir de la Région, que ce soit au niveau de l’aménagement du territoire, de la mobilité, du développement économique ou encore de la densification de l’habitat. En outre, le projet, actuellement à l’étude, de modification partielle du plan régional d’affectation du sol (PRAS démographique) apportera des réponses quant à l’utilisation optimale des espaces disponibles et à la définition des densités de certaines zones urbanisables proches des transports en commun. Au-delà de ces plans stratégiques à l’échelle de toute la région, il est également essentiel de développer des réflexions sur la densification concrète dans le tissu existant, à l’échelle architecturale. C’est dans ce cadre que j’ai voulu rendre possible l’organisation de cette première Master Class afin d’explorer les capacités de densification du territoire et d’innovation typologique et ainsi ouvrir

Emir Kir Secretary of State Brussels-Capital Region

des pistes quant à la manière de traduire une demande quantitative de logements en politique qualitative, et en espaces de vie agréables pour les citoyens. Selon un rythme annuel, ces Master Class aborderont les défis auxquels Bruxelles doit faire face et permettront de développer une base de réflexion pour saisir les opportunités et aider très concrètement à définir la transformation de la ville. Emir Kir Secrétaire d’État en charge de l’Urbanisme Région de Bruxelles-Capitale


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Voorwoord Twee jaar geleden kon ik Bouwen voor Brussel inhuldigen in het Paleis voor Schone Kunsten. Deze grootse tentoonstelling belichtte een reeks voorbeelden van daadkrachtig beleid door足足heen Europa, die allen tot kwalitatieve architectuur geleid hadden. Sindsdien heeft mijn engagement in het uitbreiden van kennis en expertise geleid tot een brede waaier aan initiatieven (ronde tafels, publicaties, lezingen, etc.) die het debat rond de transformatie van Brussel steeds concreter bevorderen en operationeel maken. De masterclass 120% Brussels is een verdere stap in deze denkpiste. Ik achtte het namelijk essentieel om de jonge generatie internationale architecten en stedenbouwkundigen, de generatie die stedelijke groei ten volste zal beleven, de kans te geven om de stad van morgen te bedenken. Brussel moet haar metamorfose inwijden, zich

aanpassen aan de demografische explosie waarvan de effecten nu al voelbaar zijn. Het Brussels Gewest is vandaag geconfronteerd met twee grote demografische uidagingen die ogenschijnlijk paradoxaal zijn. Aan de ene kant moet de stadsvlucht een halt toegeroepen worden door in kwalitatieve maar betaalbare woningen te voorzien en zo de middenklasse de mogelijkheid te geven in de stad te blijven. Aan de andere kant moeten genoeg sociale woningen worden gebouwd om de steeds talrijker wordende Brusselse bevolking te kunnen huisvesten. Deze twee aspecten zijn onafscheidelijk en moeten dan ook gezamenlijk aangepakt worden. Volgens recente peilingen zal Brussel 50.000 nieuwe woningen nodig hebben tegen 2020, een groot aandeel hiervan sociale woningen. Het is ook essentieel om in te zetten op de kwaliteit van de woningen, een cruciale bijdrage aan de leefbaarheid in de stad. Met de opmaak van het Gewestelijk Plan voor Duur-


120% Brussels International Master Class

zame Ontwikkeling (GPDO) heeft de Brusselse regering alvast een groot initiatief op poten gezet dat zal leiden tot een globale visie op de toekomst van het Gewest, op het vlak van ruimtelijke ordening, maar ook mobiliteit, economische ontwikkeling of verdichting van de woonfunctie. Daarnaast zal de herziening van het Gewestelijk Bestemmingsplan (demografisch GBP), momenteel in studiefase, een reeks antwoorden bieden wat betreft het optimaal benutten van de beschikbare ruimte en het verdichten van bepaalde zones in de nabijheid van openbaar vervoer. Buiten deze strategische plannen op gewestelijke schaal is het essentieel om na te denken over de concrete verdichting van het bestaand stadsweefsel, op architecturale schaal. Het is in dit kader dat ik de organisatie van deze eerste masterclass heb willen mogelijk maken, om de mogelijkheden op vlak van verdichting en innoverende typologieĂŤn te

Emir Kir Secretary of State Brussels-Capital Region

verkennen. Zo wordt de weg afgebakend om een kwantitatieve nood aan woningen om te zetten in een kwalitatief beleid en in aangename leefruimtes voor de inwoners. Op jaarbasis zullen deze masterclasses de verschillende uitdagingen voor Brussel benaderen en het mogelijk maken om op doordachte wijze de opportuniteiten aan te grijpen en concreet de transformatie van de stad te definiĂŤren. Emir Kir Staatssecretaris bevoegd voor stedenbouw Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest


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120% Brussels Today the world is witnessing a genuine renaissance of the city. Brussels, like many European cities, faces immense challenges on the path to becoming a world metropolis of the 21st century. It is therefore in search of urban visions and efficient planning instruments. Upon the initiative of the Secretary of State for Urbanism in the Brussels-Capital Region, Architecture Workroom curated the “Building for Brussels� exhibition. Gathering 44 exemplary projects of architecture and urban transformation throughout Europe, this exhibition presented a variety of ways to accommodate the changes in urban society, while improving the quality of the city as a whole. The exhibition called upon Brussels by


120% Brussels International Master Class

Introduction

highlighting how architecture and urban transformation can be one of the most powerful instruments of urban politics. Since then, “Building for Brussels� has grown into a programme of actions that aim at international exchange and development of expertise and knowledge in relation to the major urban challenges of today. This publication presents the results of the international master class, held in 2011, as part of this programme. It aims to engage young professionals and future architects and urban designers to become fully-fledged protagonists in the prospective debate on the transformation of cities. By offering a unique setting for exchange and


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collaboration between 35 foreign and local master students or recent graduates, and renown foreign and local practitioners, lecturers and jury members, the “120% Brussels� Master Class allows to break new grounds in building responses to the demographic explosion of Brussels. During the short lapse of 12 days, a unique methodology allowed to rapidly achieve concrete, precise and very diverse results. Different strategies have been developed for five exemplary sites. This is how this publication is also structured: by site of intervention. More than a mere toolbox, the projects gathered here thus show a scope of possibilities and help provoke an important shift


120% Brussels International Master Class

INTRODUCTION

from quantity to urban quality in the debate on Brussels’ future. Designs for a denser Brussels take on multiple forms, build on a wide array of amenities, and are conceived as tools to tackle many more complex issues. As reflections on Brussels’ metropolitan planning are taking an unseen ambitious turn, it becomes equally crucial to think about the concrete design of the Brussels of tomorrow. This international master class, as a space for debate and experimentation on the role of design can help build the bridge between the quanti­ tative demands of the city, and the need to design Brussels as an equitable, sustainable living environment.


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A Laboratory on the Architecture of the City The assumption long was that Brussels continued to The 21st century is often called lose inhabitants and that the population had peaked about the “century of the city”. 50% 20 years ago. However, in of the world population today 2008, demographic growth in lives in cities, a figure that is Brussels was twice as high as to reach about 80% by 2050. elsewhere in Belgium. Brussels In Europe, this percentage is is thus one of these European even higher as since the end of the 1990’s, the European city is cities subject to a double, growing again. The population contradictory tendency. First, population of the Paris metropolis grew by 6% between 1999 and 2007, growth has been no less than while London’s population grew spectacular in the last decade. From 2000 to 2010, the city has by almost 5% between 2001 welcomed about 130.000 new and 2006. Madrid even saw its inhabitants, a growth of 13%. population grow by about 19% If this pace remains constant— between 2001 and 2010. and many previsions indicate In Brussels, these it is rather likely to increase demographic questions have even more —population will only recently come to the grow by another 130.000 attention of the wider public. inhabitants by 2020. The principal causes for this growth are high birth and immigration rates. Both of these factors manifest themselves most clearly in the western, former industrial neighborhoods, where the most fragile population groups are living. Today housing discrepancies An urban shift


120% Brussels International Master Class

are blatant in Brussels. A statistical exercise: if one were to fix the part of a family salary spent on rent to a maximum of 25%, it would mean that the 30% poorest families would have access to a mere 4% of the housing market. The limited production of social housing is currently unable to counter this discrepancy in the market. The second dimension of this double tendency is, paradoxically enough, the continuing urban exodus. Mostly young, upper middleclass families with children leave the city in search of an affordable and comfortable home with a garden, in the periphery. Every year, 10.000 inhabitants leave the city. This figure, though largely compensated by population growth, remains an issue: as the share of socio-economically disadvantaged population increases, the share of middleclass inhabitants is in constant decline. As only the poorest and richest populations remain, social segregation occurs,

Architecture Workroom Brussels

and it becomes increasingly difficult to strive for social cohesion. The most recent demographic predictions project an increase of 170.000 inhabitants by 2020, which amounts to a need of at least 50.000 to 70.000 new housing units. Housing shortage results in rocketing prizes on the housing market, forcing the poorest to reside in increasingly small homes, and increasingly worrying conditions. A major part of those new homes will therefore have to be social housing. Brussels is preparing to catch up in terms of social housing construction. Today, the city accounts for a total of 39.030 social housing units in


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2007, or 8,4% of the total offer. Yet, 50.000 people are on the waiting list, and nearly 50% of the population of Brussels has a sufficiently low income to gain access to social housing. In comparison, Paris provides 14% of social housing, London 25%, and Amsterdam even 55%. The Brussels’ government aims to reach the threshold of 15% by 2020. This implies that 35.000 new social housing units will

need to be built between 2010 and 2020. That is about 3.500 every year, while the current annual production is at about 500-600 homes. However, the more than 50.000 homes that should be constructed are not only social housing units. In order to tackle the exodus of the middle class, Brussels also wishes to provide a qualitative and affordable living environ­


120% Brussels International Master Class

ment for the middle class. These two challenges are inseparable and must be the subject of a comprehensive strategy at the regional scale, aspiring to an optimal equilibrium between private and social housing. Neither can the issue of building such large amount of housing be reduced to the construction of housing units. This quantitative challenge can be turned into a tool to modernize and upgrade the existing city. In that sense, it is the combination of contemporary housing programs with commercial activities and businesses, public infrastructures such as nurseries, schools, libraries or sports infrastructure, as

Architecture Workroom Brussels

well as high-quality public spaces, in close proximity of an efficient public transport network, which can persuade people to come live in the city. Brussels, laboratory for the European city From the fifties onwards, Brussels underwent thorough urban transformations, evolving from an essentially industrial city to a tertiary city with a growing international vocation. During this process of ‘modernization’, Brussels has been a testing ground for different and often opposing architectural ideologies and urban visions. All of those have left their marks on the urban fabric and in the consciousness of its inhabitants. Today the position of the Capital of Europe as a geopolitical focal point is a fact. Yet its actual social, economic and demographic composition is much more complex than its international status suggests: on the territory of a relatively mid-


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public facilities, as well as an unemployment rate that is close to 20%. These challenges, far from being unique, are representative of the process of continuing urbanization and metropolisation that affects most cities throughout the world. Compared to Latin American or Asian cities, such growing contrasts of very discrepant income levels and employment rates are a new trend within European metropolitan areas. The fact that these global tendencies manifest themselves so clearly within a limited, tangible sized European city (1,1 million territory allows us to consider Brussels, once again, as a inhabitants), it hosts both laboratory for the European city highly skilled, cosmopolitan of the future. population groups and more While the demographic fragile population groups that challenge is at the core of urban continue to migrate to the city. and territorial planning studies, While being one of the top the capacities of the existing European cities in terms of urban fabric to accommodate quality of life (Mercer, 2010), it is also confronted with multiple these demographic changes challenges. Next to demographic are also a crucial question in the field of architecture growth, Brussels has to tackle the shortage of schools and other and urban design. How can


120% Brussels International Master Class

we increase — at times even double — the density of the existing city? An international master class Wishing to engage the ability of young professionals and future architects and urban designers to become fully-fledged protagonists in the prospective debate on the transformations of cities, the “120% Brussels” International Master Class explored the capacity of the European City to absorb these changes. The results will help develop ideas, principles and models for the imminent transformation of Brussels and help translate a quantitative

Architecture Workroom Brussels

need for housing construction into a qualitative urban project and policy. Five sites were identified as relevant spaces for experimentation on new “Brussel-ian” forms of density. Situated at the very core of the city or the far outskirts, ranging from the size of an urban block to entire campuses, these sites represent a great variety of possible situations where housing could be (re)implemented. Two internationally renowned practices were invited to take the lead of the master class. Brussels-based Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen and Christ & Gantenbein Architects from


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Basel, each brought their personal knowhow and a unique and innovative design method. Typological Transfer in practice The methodology of “typological transfer” stems from a paradox that lies at the core of the architectural practice: when architects are to create the future, only one thing is available to them: the past. The grand innovations of the Italian Renaissance came forth from a thorough study of Roman Antiquity. Even the modernist doctrine took its essence in studies of archaic cultures, in search of timeless

principles. This principle of studying the past to imagine the future is the starting point of the master class. As an exercise, the participants have been invited to compose a project for Brussels by deploying samples of dense city fabric and urban buildings that have proven their qualities in other cities. ‘Typological Transfer’ is a design method and a method for teaching that is developed at the ETH in Zürich by the chair of Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein. The method conveys a belief in urban architecture. In building the city by means of strong pieces of architecture. The capacity of the existing urban fabric to accommodate densification, and the means to build qualitative, but significantly denser, neighborhoods, are tested by the transfer, transposition and translation of existing building typologies. What might seem a playful act at first, actually reinstalls a recurring but long


120% Brussels International Master Class

The type and the city Four cities were the subject of typological study: Hong Kong, Rome, New York, and Buenos Aires. All of them are modern cities, which grew

Assistenzprofessur Emanuel Christ und Christoph Gantenbein — Typologien # 1 Hong Kong

forgotten practice: successful building typologies have been copied throughout the world, from city to city. The most famous example of this is 19th century Paris. The Haussmann building typology has been transferred to numerous other European cities, and also to Brussels. Instead of witnessing this phenomenon, ‘Typological Transfer’ turns this method into a conscious act of design. Students and researchers at ETH examined building typologies of 20th century cities, in an attempt to reveal and describe the defining characteristics of these urban architectures. This ambition naturally leads to studying cities that are intuitively identified as urban.

Architecture Workroom Brussels

Kontakt: www. christgantenbein. arch.ethz.ch

FS 2010

Assistenten: Nele Dechmann Victoria Easton Patrick Schmid Raoul Sigl Susanne Vécsey Assistenz: HIL E 70.5

Typologie #1 Hong Kong Assistenzprofessur Emanuel Christ und Christoph Gantenbein

Typologie #3 New York

HS 2010

Assistenten: Nele Dechmann Victoria Easton Patrick Schmid Raoul Sigl Susanne Vécsey Assistenz: HIL E 70.5

Assistenten: Nele Dechmann Victoria Easton Patrick Schmid Raoul Sigl Susanne Vécsey Assistenz: HIL E 70.5

Assistenzprofessur Kontakt: Emanuel Christ und Christoph Gantenbein www. christgantenbein. arch.ethz.ch

FS 2011

Typologie #2 Rom

Assistenzprofessur Kontakt: Emanuel Christ und Christoph Gantenbein www. christgantenbein. arch.ethz.ch

Typologie #4 Buenos Aires

Assistenzprofessur Kontakt: Emanuel Christ und Christoph Gantenbein www. christgantenbein. arch.ethz.ch

HS 2011

Assistenten: Nele Dechmann Victoria Easton Patrick Schmid Raoul Sigl Franco Pajarola Guillaume Yersin Assistenz: HIL E 70.5

explosively during the period of industrialization, or even afterwards. They are cities with unique development patterns that are characterized by a specific architecture. It is this architectural dimension of those cities that is critical to their urban quality. The specific architectural typologies possess the urban qualities that are often missing in contemporary building production. Rather


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than making a portrait of the selected cities, the study indexes and describes these architectural typologies. By definition, a typology is a set of principles which are not site-specific. Hence, the type can be universally applied, even outside the city where it originated. The resulting “typological toolbox” is the departure point for the master class: it simultaneously sets an

architectural language, a working method and a state­ ment from which to depart. By selecting one or more typologies, by transposing their defining principles, and by composing these into a new architectural constellation, the students used the building types from the database as the building stones for their proposals. Therefore the question that is researched through the ‘Typological Transfer’ method can be summarized as such: how can a successful typology in, for example, New York, produce similar qualities in the Brussels’ urban fabric? Essentially, the method proposes a cultural transfer, in which new situations are explored by the encounter and integration of a foreign element. Things that have no a priori relation are juxtaposed. This confrontation produces unexpected tensions that need to be mediated, and show potentials that can be further explored. This corresponds very directly to the method of collage.


120% Brussels International Master Class

A strict diversity The references to the qualities of the typologies, including the internal materiality of the apartments or houses, are carried through in the graphic representation of the projects developed in the master class. No fancy renderings, no axonometrics. The method of typological transfer calls for other techniques

Architecture Workroom Brussels

of representation. Using photographs of the “imported� buildings as the starting point for image production, the referencing of plans finds its analogue in the representation with photographic collages. In order to dedicate all attention and two weeks of work to a limited number of products, the presentation of the projects was precisely formatted: one plan, one model, two collages.


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This seemingly rigid format for representation, is what reveals the diversity of proposals in this publication. It is this consistency in presentation that allows for an optimal reading of the variations in spatial quality, proportion, and atmosphere. The coherence in presentation underlines the conviction that spurred from these 12 days of intense design research: densities and quantities alone do not make for a qualitative urban project. They also provoke a reflection on the material quality of the city. It is clear that the demographic boom, both in Brussels and Europe, will permanently change the appearance of cities. But that is exactly where the story begins: the 120% Brussels master class is nothing more, and nothing less, than an exploration of a vocabulary to build tomorrow’s capital of Europe.


120% Brussels International Master Class

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120% Brussels International Master Class

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Site 1 D’Ieteren Block Surface: 9,9 ha

Completely saturated by industrial buildings, this large urban block is a point of encounter between the finely-meshed fabric of city dwellings and the large parcels of industrial activities near the canal. As the largest activity on site, the car retailer D’Ieteren, will be leaving the block to settle elsewhere, this block in the heart of the city will be largely vacant. This can be an opportunity to conceive a drastic renewal of the industrial fabric, allowing more porosity and urban life inside this superblock. Beyond mere vacancy, this site is a strategic place for the city as a whole. In front of it lies the slaughterhouse of Anderlecht, being the largest marketplace of the city and a hub of very divers activities. The nearest metro station, Delacroix, is also part of the new metro loop in the center, including this part of the city in what can be considered as the new central districts of Brussels.


120% Brussels International Master Class

D’Ieteren Block


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120% Brussels International Master Class

D’Ieteren Block


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A compact urban fabric becomes a center of activity by carefully alternating inner courtyards and rising towers.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Janik Beckers (BE) Guido Teslo (IT)

Proposal 1A Based on a clear definition of borders, the chosen strategy allows an intense densification of the block without heavy transformation of its existing shape and structure. Within the clear perimeter, three large urban “islands” are defined, each internally organized and subdivided into smaller parts. Only one new street is necessary for the entrances to individual dwellings, garages and courtyards. This rational parceling allows for a clarity and flexibility within the fabric. The dwellings are arranged back to back in order to optimize land use. Two main typologies of dwellings have been selected—one for the perimeters facing the streets, one for the infill arranged around common courtyards. The typology of the perimeter is inspired from the traditional row houses. The deep gothic parcel is turned 90 degrees, which allows the single-faced dwellings to get maximum sunlight. In

line with the scale of the sur­rounding fabric, the buildings of the site’s perimeter are alternatively four or five stories high, creating a diversified urban landscape, which uses the roofs as terraces. The elementary mechanism, a grid of single-faced dwellings, creates a diverse system by the instertion of a wide array of functions within the blocks: housing on an inner courtyard, cinemas, gyms, shops and supermarkets, offices or housing again in higher towers superimposed on the blocks. On a finer scale within the new fabric, the reuse of the row house logic allows for the insertion of spaces of activity in between the housing units. The result is a sequence of high, dense and diverse blocks within the perimeter.

Density: 213.5 dwellings/ha Building Height: 4 to 25 floors Ground floor: courtyards/cinema/gym/ shops/supermarket/offices


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Janik Beckers (BE) Guido Teslo (IT)


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A variety of open courtyards gives new meaning to the street as place and space of community.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Christop HIESTAND (CH) Julian TRACHSEL (CH) Iana KOZAK (UA)

Proposal 1B The densification of this neigh­ borhood of Brussels must first aim at creating a more lively and inhab­ it­ed urban space. In order to achieve this, public space is the weapon of choice. This proposal aims at creating a new hierarchy of city space where every part of the new fabric is directly connected to the scale of the city. Two Argentinean typologies are transferred to Brussels and adapted to the conditions of the site. While creating a strong frontage for the block and keeping its largescale identity, the internal typology creates various courtyards that punctuate the carpet-like structure and subdivide it into smaller units.

Three different types of courtyards are shuffled together in this structure, creating human-scale architecture for different com­ munities and standards of living. The hierarchy of narrow and wide courtyards reacts to the existing site and extends the surrounding streets into the block. As public space seeps into the structure and distributes the very compact fabric, the difference between street, square, courtyard and passageway is blurred into a continuous notion of simultaneous openness and intimacy.

Density: 214.6 dwellings/ha Building Height: 3–10 floors Ground floor: housing


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Christop HIESTAND (CH) Julian TRACHSEL (CH) Iana KOZAK (UA)


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In a dense superblock, diverse relations between public and private activate the surrounding fabric.


120% Brussels International Master Class

alejandra dominguez delucchi (AR) sandrine tonnor (BE)

Proposal 1C More than bringing density, this experimentation focuses on the potential of housing to create places to live in, to shape streets and spaces and to integrate proximity and private life into an urban situation. The original Argentinean typology of “pasaje” is used as a starting point to bring life inside the hidden and inaccessible urban block. After translating its main structure—two blocks divided by a very narrow and intimate passage as main entrance from the street —into the scale of a “superblock,” the private/public relations are articu­lated into three situations. The back-to-back setting is characterized by a strong perspective that reaches the center of the block directly and offers a different, more impersonal and generic view of the diverse situations of “street” and “typology” present in the other parts of the

project. The back-to-front relation creates a different atmosphere. A greater distance between the volumes results in large public spaces for the inhabitants of the block and citizens in general. The most original situation is in the face-to-face setting, where voids in the building morphology create what are paradoxically the most intimate spaces, easy to be appropriated by inhabitants of the buildings. Finally, these different relations between the buildings and open space are sewn into the existing fabric, using the sense of place to activate the surroundings. In the “passages,” the services and publicly shared “rooms” produce a shared sense of belonging.

Density: 139.5 dwellings/ha Building Height: 2–5 Floors Ground floor: housing


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120% Brussels International Master Class

alejandra dominguez delucchi (AR) sandrine tonnor (BE)


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Hotspots of density, integrated through generous public spaces, allow for a new lifestyle in Brussels and become a new urban amenity.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Christop HIESTAND (CH) Julian TRACHSEL (CH) Iana KOZAK (UA)

Proposal 1D Not only by using large-scale buildings, but also by working on their optimal integration in the functioning of the city, this proposal aims at creating hotspots of density as focal points in the city. A very dense New York typology—the “carved house”—and its relation to public space in the grid-like organization of American urban fabric, are inserted in the heart of Brussels. The building is the block, surrounded by circulation axes. Beyond the introduction of these high-rise structures in the fabric, the design investigates the proportional relation of public space both to the buildings and the city. Smaller scale structures are placed as intermediaries between the extremely dense blocks and the existing fabric, also allowing light and openness to be constant

qualities for the inhabitants of the high-rise and low-rise blocks. As the size scale of the carved house in relation to the existing city fabric automatically inscribes the project in a scale beyond the neighborhood, the proposal also assumes the role of new urban centrality. Large and open public spaces not only accommodate the inhabitants of the high-rise blocks, they become valuable open spaces for the compact urban fabric surrounding the site. These large squares punctuating the project can also function within the weekly market of Cureghem, allowing this activity to extend into the public space of the city and bring liveliness into this entire part of Brussels.

Density: 162.1 dwellings/ha Building Height: 3–20 Floors Ground floor: housing


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Christop HIESTAND (CH) Julian TRACHSEL (CH) Iana KOZAK (UA)


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Site 2 Cureghem Surface: 3 ha

A former Shell depot, this block has for long been an empty lot in the city. A heavy-duty depollution of the soil, a bankrupt developer, and a never-ending struggle on the permit have consistently blocked any development on what has since then been nicknamed a “cursed block�. However, amenities are not lacking for this block. It forms the bridge between the Canal and the neighborhood of Cureghem, both visually and physically. Situated along a passage crossing the canal, right next to the quay of Biestebroeck where a sharp turn creates an axial perspective on the canal, the landscape value of the Cureghem Block is also highly strategic for the Canal zone as a whole. Future developments include the creation of a Regional Expressway (RER) station for Cureghem. The accessibility of the area is thus expected to drastically increase in the coming years, which implies the potential to function on a new scale in the city.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Cureghem


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Cureghem


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Within a rigid grid, one repeated element creates a multiplicity of spaces, situations, and relations.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Antonio MINTO (IT) Sophie Mélix (DE)

Proposal 2A In this project, density is reached by introducing a new rigid grid into the existing city structure. This grid opens up new perspectives throughout the block. It is very dense and made up of one single typology. Nevertheless, the positioning of the element in the grid creates a variety of outside spaces. The density and diversity of spaces is emphasized by different building heights throughout the grid. Where the grid reaches the outline of the site, the buildings are adapted to create exceptional situations. Hereby the typology is transformed along the existing streets and the new structure is emphasized due to the introduction of a new geometry.

Other exceptional situations are formed where the grid is confronted with the existing buildings. The essence of the proposal is an investigation on the “grain” of density, as it does not at all imply the construction of gigantic buildings and large squares. Hence the buildings are compacted and multiplied on the site, so the public space surrounding them in its turn becomes sufficiently continuous to be perceived as one polymorph entity of smaller sub-spaces. The result is a vivid and compact neighborhood where public space creates a multiplicity of situations on building scale and a continuity on the neighborhood scale.

Density: 351.6 dwellings/ha Building Height: 3–8 floors Ground floor: housing


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Antonio MINTO (IT) Sophie MĂŠlix (DE)


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A composition of large-scale volumes combines permeability toward the surroundings with surprising inner courtyards.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Denisse FLOREA (RO) Marrit WINKELER (NL)

Proposal 2B The relationship with the existing traditional urban fabric is explored through the introduction of a different scale, inspired by the industrial buildings present in the area. The interesting factory buildings are preserved as components of a new composition of large volumes, creating certain permeability on the site. The new buildings introduce a new scale of dwelling into the neighborhood, as a response to the metropolitan landscape element that the canal creates in the city. The negative space of the large buildings thus opens up toward the canal and the immediate surroundings, and creates inner “urban courtyards� between the buildings.

Although the proposed architecture is resolutely large-scale, the projects inner spaces create variety and provide proximity in terms of materiality, texture and fragility. The surprising inside space of the massive blocks are revealed on the ground floors, where urban activities connect the courtyards to the inner spaces in terms of scale and use. The tension between the volumes themselves as well as the tension between the old and new fabric creates urban spaces that, despite their bigness, are both highly urban and of a human scale.

Density: 328.1 dwellings/ha Building Height: 4–7 floors Ground floor: offices/ateliers


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Denisse FLOREA (RO) Marrit WINKELER (NL)


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A strong axiality opens and extends the waterfront potential into the neighborhood.


120% Brussels International Master Class

nassim mehran (IR) jing zhang (CN)

Proposal 2C Situated in an essentially working-class neighborhood, in the immediate proximity of the canal, this proposal deals with two ques­ tions: how to create dense forms of living within the city center, but also how to live within the existing industrial fabric and integrate it in a postindustrial era. As a first intervention, three parallel rows of dwellings are placed perpendicularly to the canal in order to bring permeability and visual continuity in the urban fabric, thus allowing the influence of the canal to extend deep into the fabric. These rigid axialities end in an irregular fashion toward the canal, where the limit between the site

of intervention and the space of the canal is blurred into a large public square. Second, the industrial buildings on the site are preserved and given a new urban significance: a highrise tower on a three-story podium responds to the shape of these buildings to enclose a second, more privatized open space at the heart of the site. This second space serves as exterior space for the inhabitants of the tower building. The resulting project uses ar­chi­­ tecture to manifest potenti­alities that were already present on the site, bringing a new urban system into existence with minimal means.

Density: 309 dwellings/ha Building Height: 4–25 floors Ground floor: housing


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120% Brussels International Master Class

nassim mehran (IR) jing zhang (CN)


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Mihaela Meslec (RO) Paolo Oliva (IT)

Proposal 2D Without falling into the pitfall of dogmatic reconstruction, this proposal attempts the paradox of staying in phase with the urban system of the surroundings while at the same time drastically rethinking it. Two urban blocks are recreated, divided by a new local street that crosses the site, extending the existing street pattern toward the canal. The blocks are then composed using a wide variety of buildings. What might seem at first glance as a random collection of unrelated buildings, reveals its internal com­plex­ity when looked at on architectural scale: the irregular shapes are carefully positioned in order to create a coherent form, trying to reinterpret the local mixed character with irregular typologies. The densification of the Brussels urban block not only goes through a choice of denser typologies. The new scale of the block and its components implies a wider logic for the

urban block as coherent whole. From opposite corners, the heights of the buildings are decreasing and create a spatial tension, giving meaning to both blocks as intertwined entities: while the sharp angle of the small block becomes a strong high frontage for the project toward the canal, the larger, almost square block decreases in height to allow optimal views toward the canal from deep within the block to a maximal amount of dwellings. These multiple coherent interventions on the urban entity of the site automatically shape the same multiplicity in the situation of the dwellings. Different relations between the dwelling and the street, the dwelling and the courtyard as well as the dwellings among themselves allow great diversity in forms of living to exist within the same entity.

Two dense urban blocks slowly reveal the subtle coherence of carefully positioned irregular shapes.

Density: 271.7 dwellings/ha Building Height: 4–9 floors Ground floor: housing/shops


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Mihaela Meslec (RO) Paolo Oliva (IT)


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Site 3 UCL

Surface: 91,5 ha At the eastern limit of the BrusselsCapital Region, the Catholic University of Louvain-La-Neuve —one of the main universities in the country—has its Brussels campus. Hosting a university hospital and other faculties, its functionalist layout resulted in a conglomerate of buildings with numerous residual in-between spaces. This functional zone of the city can be easily accessed by car and metro, but has little to no interaction with its surroundings, consisting of suburban villas and undefined green spaces. Today it is possible to propel the campus to a new level of urbanity, both locally and globally, as it has all it takes to become a vibrant district of metropolitan Brussels. Not only does it host numerous university facilities, and its own metro station, it is also in the proximity of Brussels’ largest shopping centers and numerous office buildings. The densification of the UCL campus can thus result in a better use of the existing facilities, turning them into an amenity for the inhabitants, while building a new continuity with the surrounding city.


120% Brussels International Master Class

UCL


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120% Brussels International Master Class

UCL


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120% Brussels International Master Class

ARNO HOFER (AT) CATERINA NAGLIERI (IT) ROBBERT PEETERS (NL)

Proposal 3A The UCL Campus has a peculiar logic based on the diversity of buildings and spaces, showing a certain quality in the continuous variation of external and internal spaces. On the other hand the area shows an undefined border to the neighboring single-family residential quarter, a border for now mostly used as parking area. Our purpose is to emulate the qualitative aspects of the campus logic and to make it more recognizable by clearly defining its borders. To achieve this, the strategy for densification relies on two principles: on the one hand mimicking the existing urban fabric not only from a morphological point of view but also in the disposal of the open spaces, and on the other hand defining the outer limits through the use of linear buildings. Our strategy hardly foresees the demolition of existing architecture. Furthermore,

the west end is left free of constructions. This conscious act of nonbuilding creates a contrast with the newly densified district and hence characterizes it as a park for the district and the city as a whole. A wide array of building types are brought into the site: slabs in the western part, blocks in the central part close to the hospital blocks, lowrise courtyard buildings in the eastern part, whereas long linear types define the southern border. These different typologies bring both unity and diversity. As the density and size of buildings distinguishes the campus from its surroundings, the different typologies and circulation axes create a wide array of subentities, with different relation to the territory.

By mimicking the campus building types, housing turns the campus into a hybrid district.

Density: 56.9 dwellings/ha Building Height: 5–14 floors Ground floor: hospital/university/school/ library/sports center/shops/housing


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120% Brussels International Master Class

ARNO HOFER (AT) CATERINA NAGLIERI (IT) ROBBERT PEETERS (NL)


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The pattern of the surrounding suburbs extends onto the campus, and defines a new compacity.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Loes Martens (NL) Zuzanna Koltowska (PL)

Proposal 3B While the campus model basically consists of large buildings in a wide-open space, the architecture of the student housing on the UCL site have the ambiguous aura of an oversized village. This seventies architecture forms the starting point to the densification of the campus, emphasizing this ambivalence between village and metropolis. Giancarlo de Carlo’s worker housing, a model that strongly refers to the image of single-family housing though reinterpreted in a more dense and collective way of living, is the single typology used on the campus. A play on the façades creates two distinctive entities in the public space, an urban atmosphere along circulation axes and open spaces, and a village atmosphere around more secluded courtyards.

The focus on compactness rather than size transforms the spatiality of the campus; the wide undefined emptiness becomes a continuously intertwined network of streets and alleyways, of public squares and intimate courtyards. The flexibility of the typology and the topography of the site keep the feeling of living in close relation to the environment, with four façades opening up to numerous views in different directions and in relation to different spaces. This proposal demonstrates that, while keeping a closeness and intimacy of small-town life, it is possible to create a neighborhood about four times as dense as it used to be.

Density: 66 dwellings/ha Building Height: 3–9 floors Ground floor: hospital/university/school/ library/sports center/shops/housing


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Loes Martens (NL) Zuzanna Koltowska (PL)


82

The strengthened axis creates a series of microcosms that induce more legibility and quality in the loose urban landscape.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Catherine PYCK (BE) Stefan PINTILIE (RO)

Proposal 3C The current state of the UCL Campus can best be described as an unstructured variety of buildings, spread out all over the site. Neither the suburban houses nor the freestanding campus buildings manage to create any urban feeling or a sense of coherence between the existing elements. To densify this part of Brussels, a structuring of the site is first necessary. This is achieved through the creation of a “backbone” of development, concentrating new buildings alongside the main existing axis. One specific courtyard building on the site presents interesting architectural characteristics: it has a clear strictness, though it opens up to its surroundings and creates more intimate spaces. This preexisting onsite typology was used as a starting point for the development of the backbone for urbanity. The different courtyard buildings are positioned in such way that

building façades face each other exactly and smaller transversal streets are created in between them. The first two stories of these apartment blocks are devoted to commercial spaces to create a strong relation between the street and the buildings. The height of the buildings differs on both sides of the street, according to the topography and existing surrounding buildings. On the lower side, the height of four to five stories relates to the existing houses, whereas on the upper side the building height is more related to the hospital and reaches up to eight to ten stories. Each building has a generous courtyard where residents can interact. These more intimate spaces have an inviting character toward the large green spaces behind the buildings, left untouched.

Density: 72.6 dwellings/ha Building Height: 5–8 floors Ground floor: hospital/university/ school/library/sports center/ shops/housinG


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Catherine PYCK (BE) Stefan PINTILIE (RO)


86

Site 4 Erasme Surface: 127,9 ha

At the other extreme of the city, a second urban campus is situated, hosting functions like the Erasme hospital, the faculty of medicine of the Free University of Brussels (ULB), several research centers, as well as some big box-type commercial spaces and agricultural land. The landscape situation however is entirely different from the UCL campus in the east of Brussels. Even though the Erasme Campus lies on within the territory of the Brussels-Capital Region, it is cut off from the city by the highway ring and opens up visually towards the agricultural fields and the linear urbanization of Flanders. Its proximity to the ring and one of its exits make this entire area function as an entry into the South-West of Brussels by car, and the presence of a metro station as well as large urban accommodations give it potential both as an intermodal hub for entering a less car-oriented city, and as an active neighborhood in itself in the greater metropolitan conurbation.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Erasme


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Erasme


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A new hybrid block typology brings both density and urbanity into a new gate for the city.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Arthur GOETINCK (BE) Tom JANSSENS (BE) Pauline VARLOTEAUX (FR)

Proposal 4A Neither urban nor suburban, the Erasmus campus is presently a mainly utilitarian space on the outskirts of Brussels. Though this results in an unqualified space, it also brings an optimal accessibility, be it through road traffic or public transportation. The combination of optimal access and a clear inscription in a region-wide or even metropolitan scale for the site implies the possible definition of a clear border, a frame that can work as a gate for Brussels. As such, the site demands an­other logic than classical commonplace urbanity. A new morphology confronts the campus and street logics to give structure to the area.

Large platforms, containing a diversity of urban commodities and large parking areas, clearly define the street pattern while becoming the base for a set of housing towers. Each time, this base becomes an elevated semipublic space for the towers it hosts resulting in smaller entities made of two to four high-rise elements with a larger urban system. This clear landform distinguishes the city from the surrounding open agricultural landscape outside the frame, thus adding value to both by making them complementary elements of a limit.

Density: 51.1 dwellings/ha Building Height: 1–30 floors Ground floor: hospital/university/ kindergarten/sports hall/shops/housing


92


120% Brussels International Master Class

Arthur GOETINCK (BE) Tom JANSSENS (BE) Pauline VARLOTEAUX (FR)


94

A new linear development structures the campus and becomes a backbone for future development.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Mostafa MAHDY (EG) Zohal BASHARIAR (DE)

Proposal 4B The Erasmus campus, located outside the city center in the middle of agricultural land, presents a blatant lack of coherence as buildings and roads alike seem to be floating in an indefinite emptiness. To restore a clear significance and sense of place, the project simultaneously increases the density of the campus and creates a coherent order between the existing buildings by creating new linear structures parallel to the main road. The existing axiality is emphasized by creating a continuous frontage with high-rise buildings along both sides of this axis. By the very concentrated intensification of urbanity along the road, metro station and metro railway, the axis becomes a welcoming

avenue towards the capital, which prevents views of the surrounding emptiness, consciously ignoring the lack of definition behind the wall of buildings. Only one point along the way reveals the Potemkinesque essence of the proposal: an inflexion in the continuous frontage, creating a plaza along the axis, stages the emptiness of the surrounding landscape and reveals the scenographic gesture as an initiator of urbanity. In the long term, this opening and staging of the fields are an invitation for more, a questioning of the value of void and the necessity of its integration in the metropolitan landscape.

Density: 44.9 dwellings/ha Building Height: 7–15 floors Ground floor: hospital/university/ kindergarten/sports hall/shops /housing


96


120% Brussels International Master Class

Mostafa MAHDY (EG) Zohal BASHARIAR (DE)

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Site 5 Auderghem Shopping Surface: 12,1 ha

Amidst the housing fabric dominating this part of the city, a large monofuntional space acts as a mere quantitative service to the city inhabitants. Along an axis of intense circulation and the metro line, a large shopping mall clashes with some remains of housing fabric. The major part of the site however is filled with parking areas on several floors. Today, as pressure on the territory is ever increasing, such areas can be reimagined as sites for densification. To intervene on this site, we can explore new typologies and experiment hybrid cohabitation between housing, shopping and parking. Integrating different scales of appeal in an urban fabric that transcends the opposition between local and metropolitan function will make it possible to dissolve the conflicting discontinuities between city space and car space.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Auderghem Shopping


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120% Brussels International Master Class

Auderghem Shopping


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A new compact, large-scale structure installs overall coherence between the existing urban fragments.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Giorgio RENZI (IT) Tim BRANS (NL)

Proposal 5A The Auderghem Shopping area in Brussels consists of different parts, each with their own function, logic, morphology and scale: a typical Brussels street with single houses, a massive shopping mall, and a mixed-use area with dwellings and offices. To densify the area this logic of successive layers is taken as a principle of composition by introducing one additional large structure, carefully positioned in between the private back gardens of the single family houses and the public space at the site of the shopping mall. On the one side, a compact urban façade faces the shopping mall, while on the other the volume is interrupted and sequenced, reducing the apparent scale of the building. This treatment of the frontage allows for

an easy transition from the large building of the shopping mall to the multiple small parcels of the Brussels fabric. The structure is developed out of a multiplied double tube structure, creating a series of interconnected open spaces. According to their positioning in relation to the surroundings and the buildings they might be facing, those open spaces offer different levels of privacy, from the intimate courtyard to the pocket public park. This articulation of the open space makes the transition from object to territory: the large, strict, almost graphic structure creates ever-different interactions with the surroundings, adapting to a varied context, and defining it on smaller scale.

Density: 177.3 dwellings/ha Building Height 2–8 floors Ground floor: shopping mall/housing


104


120% Brussels International Master Class

Giorgio RENZI (IT) Tim BRANS (NL)


106

Importing an emblematic New York building demonstrates the capacity for densification of the site.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Filippo CATTAPAN (IT) Jean-Benoit HOUYET (BE)

Proposal 5B The Auderghem site is a fragmented place, where housing faces a monofunctional commercial building, with little to no relation. In such cases of mutual ignorance, housing is often considered a victim, and the exceeding size of shopping structure is given the blame. This proposal is a critical questioning about scales and how density can transform common significance as much as the urban context. By superimposing the Waldorf Astoria on the existing shopping mall, a building of entirely unprecedented size in this part of Brussels, or Brussels in general, puts the notion of scale into a whole new perspective. The shopping mall, formerly considered a dominant structure, is reduced to the status

of a simple annex building. In this conscious act of intense rescaling, the project offers a high social diversity, a high mix of uses and a new urban activity to this well-connected place. Consequently, it redefines the existing void as an intense, qualitative public space. As an extreme architectural proposal, its punctual and massive densification strategy through high-quality architecture doesn’t try to find any formal or dimensional connection with the context. As an almost platonic ideal of density, it simply imposes its remarkable presence and creates a new system of relations within the site, the neighborhood and the city.

Density: 391.2 dwellings/ha Building Height: 47 floors Ground floor: shopping mall/shops/ restaurants/spa/housing


108


120% Brussels International Master Class

Filippo CATTAPAN (IT) Jean-Benoit HOUYET (BE)


110

The principles of traditional city fabric are scaled up, accommodating the new housing needs and generating a sequenced public space.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Pietro SALAMONE (IT) Emina ADILAGIC (BA)

Proposal 5C Starting from the existing urban fabric, this proposal scales up the single-family row house to accommodate the scale of the commercial buildings and the higher density required to accommodate demographic growth. In the existing fabric, a row house can be directly identified to its inhabitant, while the urban scale is achieved through a continuous frontage from row house to row house, thus forming an urban block. When up-scaling this model however, a whole new relation between the dweller and his home needs to be conceived. As the urban scale now exists in each one of the row buildings, it is not their homogeneity, but, on the contrary, their diversity which needs to be emphasized. This is why the morphology of row house fabric is inverted: a straight façade on the back and

a moved façade on the front. The Buenos Aires and New York typologies alternate wide interior courtyards and long perpendicular corridors. As every building has its own proportion and propulsion into the public space, they become clearly discernable urban forms to which the inhabitants can relate as “their” building. Also, this dented façade defines a new kind of public space, with a central circulation space linking different urban rooms of different dimensions and intimacy. These very different relations between building and public space allow the creation of varied situations on the ground floor. With commercial spaces, ateliers, offices, a school, a very diversified and surprising urban life emerges.

Density: 212.1 dwellings/ha Building Height: 5–16 floors Ground floor: shopping mall/school/ shops/offices/ateliers


112


120% Brussels International Master Class

Pietro SALAMONE (IT) Emina ADILAGIC (BA)


114

A strong perimeter isolates a dense yet intimate urban fabric, reconciling different scales of the city.


120% Brussels International Master Class

David de KOOL (NL) Filippo PIOVENE (IT)

Proposal 5D This plan deals with the relation of neighborhood scale and city scale, which is here related to the question of the inside and the outside of a huge block in the suburbs of Brussels. The proposal makes a clear distinction between its relation to the city and its inner organisation as a dense, compact neighborhood. The outside perimeter of the block extends the existing northern frontage of row houses to form a border of public program consisting of the redesigned supermarket, along with new shops of different sizes, offices, some bars and restaurants, and parking. A thin, translucent, fence-like building on the two sides, this border becomes a robust mass in the south point of the triangular block. The infill is conceived out of back-to-back courtyard apartment buildings, bordering other buildings

on all but one façade. Different typologies make the dwelling size vary from relatively small 80sqm layouts to enormous 300sqm apartments, all organized around one or more courtyards, creating an introverted and intimate residence. The new fabric is laid out to form a variation of defined urban spaces: a sequence of streets and squares, composing the canvas for a distinctive neighborhood. The neighborhood and the edge meet in different ways according the side of the block. The clash between the orderly layout of dwellings and the east perimeter generate a series of public squares and spaces of entrance, while the western border is in direct contact with the dwellings, themselves opening toward a larger public square.

Density: 135.6 dwellings/ha Building Height: 3–4 floors Ground floor: Shopping mall/shops/ restaurants/bars/offices


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120% Brussels International Master Class

David de KOOL (NL) Filippo PIOVENE (IT)


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An Exercise in Urban Architecture Brussels will need to densify and increase its housing stock. As evident as this might sound, it is only today that this seems widely accepted. It is a new commonplace. Leading the International Master Class “120% Brussels” has a lot to do with commonplaces that are not yet commonly accepted. The question of densification has always had a simplifying effect: quantitative needs often lead to a singular response that is then deployed throughout the city. The core of our endeavor was to undo density from this diagrammatic, often modernist imperative. This is not evident within the limited time frame of a master class. As a format of teaching, such studios mostly suffer from the opposite tendency. Pushing the production during two weeks of work often leads to a level of abstraction, to illustrations of possible arguments, and not to clear proposals for the material and spatial quality of the urban environment. That

is precisely what we wanted to avoid, by steering the work to very tangible incarnations of ideas. Or, to put it stronger: “architecture must do the job.” To focus on architecture in the framework of a master class about the transformation of the urban fabric requires a lot of a priori decisions. The “120% Brussels” master class is heavily defined by these and we are proud of this. The master class focused on compositions in plan, and on urban (architectonical) perspectives. It allowed us to push the urban question beyond density diagrams and numbers, and to present fragments of a possible ‘densified Brussels’. What you see is what you get: precise layouts and images of these future urban realities. The propositions allow us to explore, understand and verify what quantities and densities could become as urban environments. One could say that our operation is purely morphological. But that is


120% Brussels International Master Class

only half true. By consciously limiting the tools for the studio to work with, by providing a limited set of pre-selected, found types, the studio was able to also tackle questions regarding the urban structure, the urban fabric, the building sizes and (public) spaces, and other urban programs. There is not a singular project that presents a completely irrelevant or unworkable hypothesis. By designing with architectural and urban fragments that are known to all, the studio was able to touch upon many more issues that are at play in such major urban transformations: the sizes of the housing and building units, the experience of these sizes from the public space of the city, the relation between common spaces and private spaces inside the proposed building envelope, etcetera. Each canonical building or real piece of ‘urban architecture’, no matter where it is built, embodies and materializes an idea of living

Kersten Geers, Office KGDVS Emanuel Christ, Christ & Gantenbein Architects

that often challenges our pre-conceived ideas of housing in the city. The students were asked to use only the pre-selected buildings and types, and were therefore limited in their field of play. The set of examples was carefully composed as a palette of ideas for dense urban living. This makes it the perfect international toolbox to test the capacity of the specific urban fabric, and to advance alternatives for the common type of urban densification in brownfield areas. The toolbox is what allows the participants to undo density from the all too simple idea of perfectly new and shiny neighborhoods. Another defining element is that the set of reference buildings was mostly composed of (early) 19th century building types: urban buildings with a strong material quality, built before the dogma of aestheticized modernism started to prevail. These types allow us to think beyond the commonly accepted


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pseudo-science of quality, space and light that is so characteristic of our post-war social housing projects (also in Brussels). Shifting the focus to architectural references that define the urban quality by their material quality, rather than by their rational composition of repetitive housing units, is a form of going back to the future. Such housing schemes were built exactly 100 years ago in large metropolises like New York, Buenos Aires and Hong Kong (all three part of the toolbox). Their strength is that they allow for high-density urban fabrics, while establishing a relatively luxurious quality of living, often in (slightly) abandoned, central urban neighborhoods. Essential in all of these operations (and for our Brussels case) is a sense of disconnect between the urban plan, its suggested density and envisioned quality of living on the one hand, and on the other hand, the reconsideration of

the role of architecture, of the quality of the building, as a decisive factor for the quality of the neighborhood. Such urban artifacts are opportunities for superior architecture. They organize metropolitan living, and replace the uniqueness of top locations and spectacular views by intrinsic architectural qualities such as ceiling height, surface per unit, orientation, etcetera. As a specific part of the history of architecture, these specific designs for dense, inner city living enable us to imagine densities with qualities, which are both unthinkable otherwise. Each of these operations is unconditionally urban. Shamelessly urban even, in that they manifest their collective nature so overtly. They sustain and manifest a form of citizenship through the shared qualities of the architecture. In that sense, the topic of study and ambition for this master class was precisely the unraveling and understanding of the DNA of


120% Brussels International Master Class

this collective architecture and its specific set of qualities that could be transposed to the Brussels fabric: the quality of the common spaces, the appearance of the buildings, the structuring of public spaces and the relation to the surrounding urban fabric. The selected foreign urban fragments function as a set of tangible urban forms that help grasp the potential of development for Brussels. This method and these references proved to be the necessary allies for an exploration of a qualitative densification of the city. It allowed us to present 17 real projects for five fragments of Brussels. Each proposal reveals a particular idea, a particular soul, a unique potential quality. The method could be criticized as very narrowminded, as overly simplistic. That would be a mistake. The projects are more than simplistic scenarios. They are carefully developed and present hypotheses for living

Kersten Geers, Office KGDVS Emanuel Christ, Christ & Gantenbein Architects

in Brussels, for rearranging these particular areas, in a way most schemes never quite succeed. Their unavoidable particularity is the product of the precise selection and the decisions that were made prior to starting the design work. For better or worse, they present proper alternatives for and architecture of the city, ready to be debated. If there is one intention of which this master class is a testimony, other than our deep interest in this capital of Europe and its housing problem, it is to put architecture back on the agenda. Urban architecture is what can guarantee the quality of any urban plan, for any community and ultimately for any metropolis. Brussels cannot do without architecture and without the necessary architectural research and debate. Kersten Geers Emanuel Christ


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120% Brussels International Master Class

CHRIST & GANTENBEIN ARCHITECTS

Master Profiles

 hrist & Gantenbein Architects, C Basel, CH

Active in multiple fields from private commission to multiple large-scale masterplans, Christ & Gantenbein Architects base their project of housing complexes on a thorough knowledge of typological aspects and on the multiple variations and filiations of a similar design principle. In association with ETH Zürich where both partners teach, and the Amt für Städtebau of the City of Zürich, they developed and published a research on the territorial develop­ment of Zürich, based on the concept of “Typological Transfer”, experimenting the capacity of specific foreign typo­logies to be reinterpreted in the Zürich context.


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120% Brussels International Master Class

OFFICE KERSTEN GEERS DAVID VAN SEVEREN

Master Profiles

 ffice Kersten Geers O David Van Severen, Brussels, BE

While every attempt at making architecture seems to drift off in rhetorics of programmatic organization and ironic provocation, form and space as such have become a rare good. The litteral architecture of Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen aims for a phenomenological experience, perhaps despite of its program. Office KGDVS quickly established a foreground position with projects such as the Kortrijk Xpo or the Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2008. They were awarded the Silver Lion for their contribution to the 2010 Venice Biennale, “7 Rooms / 21 Perspectives” with photographer Bas Princen.


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Organization

Participants

Architecture Workroom Brussels is a think-and-do tank that partners with public authorities, private parties and cultural institutions. They conceive and coordinate prospective design studies and programs that advance innovative responses to societal challenges. Architecture Workroom positions design and designers within the broader public debate through ateliers, exhibitions, publications, seminars and a residency program. Its aim is to contribute to an international exchange and spur innovation in architecture and city making.

Emina Adilagic (BA) graduated in 2009 from the Faculty of Architecture, University of Sarajevo. She is currently an intern at the Municipal Department of Physical Planning and Construction.

Zohal Bashariar (DE) graduated Bachelor of Arts in 2009 in Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main. She is currently studying in the Dessau Institute of Architecture in Germany.

Janik Beckers (BE) graduated in Bioengineering before expanding her field to architecture in the University of Ghent. Her master thesis investigates public space design in Brussels.

Tim Brans (NL) is student in architecture and urban design at the Eindhoven University of Technology, and an assistant professor in the first year design studios at the same university.

Filippo Cattapan (IT) graduated from the IUAV university of Venice. After working with Salottobuono he became an independent architect and graphic designer. He is an assistant professor at the Politecnico di Milano.


120% Brussels International Master Class

David de Kool (NL)

Jean-Benoit Houyet (BE)

graduated in architecture and urban design at the Eindhoven University of Technology in 2011. He has been a tutor of typological analysis of dwellings, and worked at Hild und K Architekten.

graduated in 2009 from the ISA Saint-Luc in Brussels. He has since been an intern in, among others, OZON architectes.

Alejandra Dominguez Delucchi (AR) graduated in 2010 from the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Since then she has travelled the globe, participating to various workshops, and started to volunteer as architect at the administration of national parks of Argentina.

Denisse Florea (RO) graduated in 2009 from the Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest. She has since then worked in various architecture firms, both in Bucharest and Brussels.

Arthur Goetinck (BE) is studying architecture at the University of Ghent since 2007 and a passionate follower of the architectural culture scene nation-wide.

Christoph Hiestand (CH) is studying architecture at the ETH in ZĂźrich.

Arno Hofer (AT) graduated in 2011 from TU Eindhoven. He has since then participated in various workshops and gained experience in an Italian architectural office, mainly involved in small housing units.

Tom Janssens (BE) graduated in 2011 from the School of Sciences and Art Sint-Lucas in Ghent. He has been an intern at, among others, FabriK G architects and BeelAchtergael Architects.

Zuzanna Koltowska (PL) is an architecture student at ASK Warsaw. She has participated in various workshops and competitions, among them InDeSem 2011 workshop and the competiton for the WW2 museum in Gdansk, Poland.

Iana Kozak (UA) graduated in 2011 from the Department of Architecture in Prydniprovs’ka State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Ukraine. She has earned several mentions and awards in student competitions.

Mostafa Mahdy (EG) graduated in March 2007 from the University of Minia, Faculty of Fin arts, Architecture Department in Cairo, Egypt. He is currently studying the Master programme at the Dessau Institute of architecture.


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Loes Martens (NL)

Caterina Naglieri (IT)

is studying architecture and urban design at the Eindhoven University of Technology. She has worked at engineering office Movares, and is currently a teacher-assistant in Eindhoven.

studied in Italy and Portugal before concluding a PhD in Environmental Design at Sapienza University in Rome. Along with her university career, she has been an awarded participant in several ideas competitions worldwide.

Nassim Mehran (IR) graduated in 2009 from the Tehran University of Art and is currently studying at the Dessau Institute of Architecture in Germany. She’s been active in several agencies and as assistant professor at Ahvaz University.

Paolo Oliva (IT) graduated from the IUAV in Venice and the AAM of Mendrisio. Since then he has worked as a collaborator of Gabinete de Arquitectura Solano Benitez.

Stefan-Radu Pintilie (RO) Sophie Mélix (DE) is studying architecture and urban design at the University of Karlsruhe as well as the Eindhoven University of Technology, and has contributed to the work of several architecture practices.

is studying at the Faculty of Architecture “G.M. Cantacuzino” of Iasi, Romania. He has participated in various workshops, among them InDeSem 2011 and the 10th Sibiu Summer University.

Filippo Piovene (IT) Mihaela Meslec (RO) graduated in Architecture and Urban Planning in Romania before starting studies in Urban Design at the Eindhoven University of Technology, of which she is to graduate in 2012.

graduated in Architecture at IUAV University in 2011. He has been a regular participant in international workshops, and has collaborated with several architectur practices, among which Salottobuono.

Robbert Peeters (NL) Antonio Minto (IT) graduated in 2011 from the Università IUAV di Venezia and the Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto. He has collaborated with several offices in Portugal, Italy and Switzerland,

is currently graduating at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He has worked in the architecture office Grosfeld van der Velde and is an awarded participant to architecture competitions.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Catherine Pyck (BE)

Julian Trachsel (CH)

is studying Urban Architectural Design at the School of Sciences and Art Sint-Lucas in Ghent and the University of Oulu, Finland. She has been an intern at NU architectuuratelier.

is studying architecture at the ETH in Z端rich. He is currently working as Research Assistant in ETH, for the Typological Transfer Project by Christ & Gantenbein, exhibited at the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam.

Giorgio Renzi (IT) is studying at the IUAV in Venice. He has been a participant to several international workshops, and a regular collaborator of architecture practice Salottobuono in Milan.

Pietro Salamone (IT) graduated from the IUAV in Venice. Since then he has worked as a collaborator of architecure practices Salottobuono and Office KGDVS.

Guido Tesio (IT) graduated in 2011 from the Politecnico di Milano. Since then, he has been an assistant professor and has worked in various architecture practices, among them Baukuh and Office KGDVS.

Sandrine Tonnoir (BE) graduated in 2009 from the ISACF-La Cambre in Brussels. She has since been active as assistant professor and architect, and worked on a metropolitan vision for Brussels in 2040 as a collaborator at Karbon Architects.

Pauline Varloteaux (FR) is currently graduating at the ENSAP in Bordeaux, where she is assistant professor. She has participated in various international workshops, and has collaborated with various offices, among them Bureau Bas Smets.

Marrit Winkeler (NL) graduated in 2010 from the University of Technology in Eindhoven. She has been nominated for the Dutch national Archiprix 2011 and is currently working at WillemsenU architects.

Jing Zhang (CN) graduated in Architecture Design from Huazhong University of Science and Technology and in Architecture and Urban culture from the Eindhoven Univesity of Technology. He is currently design assistant at Sciskew Collaborative.


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Jury Joachim Declerck

Eric Lapierre

Joachim Declerck is co-founder and program director of Architecture Workroom Brussels. From 2008 till 2010, he directed the professional development program at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam. He was co-curator of the 3rd IABR and the exhibition A Vision for Brussels (both in 2007). He was curator of Building for Brussels. Architecture and Urban Transformation in Europe (Bozar, 2010) and the 5th IABR, Making City. He is vice-president of the Regional Development Commission of the Brussels Capital Region.

Architect DPLG, critic, architectural historian, Eric Lapierre opened his office in Paris in 2000. The office takes a stance against the formalistic and spectacular architecture generated by the contemporary version of capitalism. Eric Lapierre works on the possibility of creating contemporary building that are not informed by marketing values. That’s why his work questions convention, tradition, innovation and banality.

Michiel Dehaene is an associate professor at the Ghent University of Technology. After obtaining the degree of Civil EngineerArchitect at KU Leuven, he worked on the Piano Regolatore General for Bergamo at office Secchi Viganò, before graduating at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design as a Master of Architecture in Urban Design. In 2002 he completed a PhD investigating the role of survey in the development of British town planning. He is coeditor of Heteropia and the city: public space in a postcivil society (2008).

Freek Persyn is a partner in Brussels-based 51N4E, founded in 1998. He studied architecture at Sint-Lucas School of Architecture in Brussels and the Dublin Institute of Technology. In 2004, 51N4E was awarded the prestigious Rotterdam Maaskant Award for Young Architects. Parallel to his professional activities at 51N4E, he is an assistant professor at the University of Ghent, a visiting critic and studio master at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam and a visiting professor at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

Valérie Lambot Mona Farag studied architecture at the Technische Universität Karlsruhe. She was active in several renowned offices in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland before joining Christ & Gantenbein Architects in 2002. She has been an associate of Christ & Gantebein since 2007.

is member of the Architecture and Urbanism section in the cabinet of the Secretary of State Emir Kir.

Anne-Sophie Walazyc is affiliated to monuments and sites within the Cabinet of the MinisterPresident of the Brussels-Capital Region Charles Picqué.


120% Brussels International Master Class

Colophon Graphic design Project Projects, New York

Photography Jeroen Verrecht

Thanks to Renaud Chaput Chris Cheng-Huan Wu Jan de Vylder Wim Embrechts , Prem Krishnamurthy Valérie Lambot Géry Leloutre Thierry Mercken Benoit Moritz Anna Rieger Eefje Vloeberghs Bety Waknine Anne-Sophie Walazyc


120% Brussels International Master Class

120% Brussels

Table of Contents

Foreword 120% Brussels A Laboratory on the Architecture of the City Site 1 D’Ieteren Block Site 2 Cureghem Site 3 UCL Site 4 Erasme Site 5 Auderghem Shopping An Exercise in Urban Architecture Profiles

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Report  

Report of the Masterclass

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