SOCIAL PASSIVE APARTMENTS AND SOCIAL LOW-ENERGY DWELLINGS | OPEN COMPETITION ORGANISED BY THE CLIENT, 1ST PLACE
Passive building for sure is about sustainable architecture, but energy is perhaps not the most important aspect. The real ecology of this project lies in very diverse aspects: high quality living in the city and not in the periphery; high density combined with privacy; building in the inner area of an urban block; searching for the boundaries of the maximum allowed volume while preserving architectural harmony and looking for optimal sunlight and views for all residents. The project mainly wants to be an “exemplary building” by the choices it makes on architectural and urban level.
The classic 19th-century urban planning typology of the mansion with a ‘carriage porch’ – as we often find in this neighbourhood – is used to create a densified housing complex. The faceted volume of the apartment building in the front is generated by the average lot width in the street combined with a clever combination of the adjacent building heights and cornice profiles. The façades and roofs of the project are developed in white zinc, perfectly matching the white natural stone of the mansions in the neighbourhood. The rear building contains three dwellings under an extrusion of the adjacent industrial shed roofs. These units are accessed via a green inner courtyard. They each have their own garden and enjoy zenithal daylight through skylights.
Through the generous access of daylight, the spacious private outside spaces and the carefully tuned privacy, a social housing typology is created with high spatial quality. Social housing thus becomes an integral part of the city, without any form of stigmatisation or visible spatial deprivation. The project engages deliberately in an intense relationship with its context and uses the existing qualities such as sunlight and views to create a material support for social integration and cohesion.