Team with Hakan Cakaloz
REHABILITATION OR TABULA RASA ?
During this project entitled “Tectonics – Performance – Typology”, after having consulted and analyzed the archive, I have realized the plans, sections and elevations of the existing structure of a mixed-programme building on Leopold Square in Antwerp. The goal was to determine the benefits and disadvantages of a possible rehabilitation in comparison with a tabula rasa. The post-and-beam structured building proved to be inflexible.
Despite a small disappointment with the choice of the imposed study building, and the wish to learn how to make a rigorous diagnostic regarding the structure and the envelop, the instructions of opposition and production of a rehabilitation and a tabula rasa of the same project appeared particularly rewarding to me.
After having considered rehabilitation, only the pattern, the volumetry of the two wings, the interior street and the diversity of the programmes (shops, offices, housing) appeared as the value of the building. Indeed, the irregularity of the structure, the lack of open space and the absence of connection between the building and its context led me to plan a reinterpretation, the most sustainable possible. To do so, I have remained on a new structure and on the concept of community.
The collective housing, respectful of individuality of each household and attentive to the implementation of several shared spaces, is perhaps one of the answers to spatial and financial issues of contemporary society.
To achieve that goal, orientation, plan and relation to the collective spaces offer everyone a unique housing. The common areas, located at the meeting of the two wings, housing functions such as the laundry, the soundproofed room, the reception for the offices and meeting places – library with mutual funds, terrace-, which may reduce neighborhood disagreements.
Through a shift of the façade on the ground floor, levelling works with the sidewalk and a cantilever, a progressive connection is set up with the city and between the residents and the customers of the shops.
In parallel, the flexibility of the structure played a key role in the design process. The structure is maintained by two different materials: brick and wood. Both materials were selected for their local character and ease of implementation on a busy site.
Here is a harmonious duality in the use of these two, giving its flexible character to the building.
The main structure is formed by the walls of masonry which are shift to enable free circulation through each shelf or to let more possibilities for wainscoting.