157 PRIVATE AND SOCIAL DWELLINGS, POLYVALENT SPACE AND PARKING IN EVERE | OPEN COMPETITION ORGANISED BY THE CLIENT
The site, pinched between the Brussels cemetery and a residential park, is part of a larger ecosystem that could be described as insular. Without being isolated, this larger milieu is encircled by four major arteries. It consists only of dead ends that help preserving the site from unnecessary disturbances.
This milieu hosts a set of programs and urban typologies (such as the cemetery, a garden city, various educational and sport equipment and an ensemble of residential towers) that liberates the ground floors and give space to nature to unfold and bloom. Thus the environment in which the project takes place, can be seen as a very large park. Compared to other green areas in Brussels, this insular environment appears to be one of the largest figures of the city, and therefore raises the question of how to inhabit the larger park of Brussels. The site itself consists essentially of fragments of urban vegetable gardens, that have built along time a balance and an atmosphere that constitutes its ecological quality and its attractiveness, as well as its social utility. On the scale of the larger milieu, the site is thus a centrepiece of the latter’s identity.
The project aims to minimise its own footprint, in order to preserve the specific qualities of the existing biotope. Acting as bookends, two narrow and high edifices bound to their generous esplanades take place on both sides of the site in order to take advantage of the existing infrastructure. As similar but different twins, they enclose and protect a giant garden, preserving space for appropriation. Where in the northern twin, the dwellings are clustered around loggias, the units in the southern twin are organized along galleries.
The organisation of the plan offers space for encounter and social interaction. The generosity of the communal spaces creates a high level of community feeling, often lacking in contemporary housing high-rise.