Discover Benelux, Issue 30, June 2016

Page 24

Discover Benelux | Design | Top Belgian Architecture and Design Guide

The art of creativity and energy-neutral building

Photo: Marc Sourbron


The buildings designed by architect Reginald Schellen look so modern and pure you might not directly associate them with energy efficiency. However, he had the environment in mind all along, which is why all these buildings need as little energy as possible. “Architects have a responsibility towards the environment.” That is quite a statement coming from Reginald Schellen, owner of architect company Schellen Architecten. “We need to do something to stop this earth from heating up,” he explains. “And we can contribute by building energy-neutral buildings.” The design of every building in the hands of Schellen is as energy neutral as possible. They work with the principle of the Trias Energeti-

ca, which means they waste as little energy as possible. The energy that is used is mostly sustainable and the fossil energy the buildings do use will be as efficient as possible. Therefore, elements like heat pumps and solar panels are used. “We do this with every kind of building we design. Whether it’s an office, apartment, villa, health facility or sports complex.” Sound complicated? “It is; we have to keep this principle in mind from the moment we first start the process. But that’s the challenge. You have to consider the surrounding context as well as the wishes of the client and of course how the design will look eventually. The more complex this is, the bigger the challenge. But that’s what makes it fun!”

Photo: Milpas

Photo: Hendrik Biegs

A passion for modernist architecture TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT | PHOTOS: ARCHITECTENWONING

Belgium has a rich tradition in modernist architectural design of private properties. It is the mission of Architectenwoning to preserve this heritage. Dynamic open spaces, generous natural light, clean lines, beautiful proportions, exquisite detailing and wonderful views – according to Frederic Rozier, it is not easy to overestimate

24 | Issue 30 | June 2016

the aesthetics of modern 20th-century architectural design. A renowned design and architecture expert in his native Belgium, Rozier teamed up with property expert Kristof Welleman some four years ago to set up a company specialised in advising buyers and sellers of architecturally designed private properties. Collaborating with a network of established estate agents, their services include valuation, negotiation and contracts, as well as advice on the quality and value of the architecture. “We specialise in properties from the modern era, between the 1920s and 1980s,” Rozier explains. “Belgium has a rich heritage in this era, ranging from art deco to brutalism. But too often I could see properties end up in the hands of new owners who radically overhauled their layout and appearance.” This is why Architectenwoning matches properties with buyers who are interested in maintaining the original design and detailing.

According to Rozier, this is also of crucial importance to the seller. “Owners simply don’t want to see the soul of their home destroyed.” So in that sense, Architectenwoning is more than just a commercial enterprise. “We have some 10,000 modernist properties in Belgium, all beautifully designed and built with quality materials and true craftsmanship. Preserving this heritage is our passion, it’s what keeps us going every day.”

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