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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Residential complex Le Lorrain in Brussels, Belgium by MDW Architecture

November 5th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: MDW Architecture

Renovation of the former Brumétal dealer of old iron into a social housing complex composed of a 4-flat building connected by a large common open space to 3 maisonettes at the rear of the site.

Image Courtesy Julien Lanoo

  • Architects: MDW Architecture
  • Project: Residential complex Le Lorrain
  • Location: Brussels, Belgium
  • Client : Commune de Molenbeek-St-Jean (public)
  • Team : MDW ARCHITECTURE, Waterman TCA (Structural Engineer), MK Engineering (M&E Engineer)
  • Dates : 2009-2011
  • Surface : 835 m²
  • Budget : 1.5M €

Image Courtesy Julien Lanoo

Urban scale
This residential beacon project for the district contract « Maritime » consists in clearing and opening up the interior of the plot that was entirely built and making this portion of the street “breathe” thanks to a wide opening. It aims at giving the neighbourhood a new spring through a both strong and suitable contemporary architectural and urban intervention that benefits the community while keeping a trace of the industrial past of the neighbourhood.

Image Courtesy Julien Lanoo

Architectural design
The general design reflects a contemporary approach based on the genius loci and on the requirements from the program. It includes different typologies of accommodations: simplex, duplex and triplex from 2 to 4 bedrooms and organised in one apartment building and 3 terrace houses at the rear of the site. Architectural and environmental quality is privileged. Because the site was tightly enclosed by high party walls it was decided to clear the interior of the plot and to raise the maisonettes in order to maximise the amount of light captured and to take advantage of the best sunlight. This also allowed to accommodate a garage at street level and to avoid a total depollution of the site.

Image Courtesy MDW Architecture

On the street front, the apartments have been raised and pushed back to create a first visual sequence between the road and the complex. By lowering the eastern party wall the oppressing feeling of the interior of the plot is reduced and more light penetrates into the interior of the plot.

Image Courtesy Julien Lanoo

A large circulation area is carved within the site and creates a wide meeting and playing area for residents. Each house also features a private garden and a recessed entrance to put some distance between the front door and the public space.

The existing street front has been kept and it dialogues with the apartments through the volumes and the bridges/terraces. Hot dip galvanised steel fencing fixed to the old façade creates a vandal-proof filter between the street and the internal space and serves as support for creeping plants.

Image Courtesy Julien Lanoo

The buildings are clad with grey metallic sheets whose aspect reminds of the industrial character of the plot. A light alternation of their shade and treatment reinforces the volumes: In particular, hot dip galvanised steel sheets identify the distribution and circulation functions.

The choice of internal and external materials is induced by the necessity of robustness and durability, but warm wooden elements are used for contrast in more tactile areas like doors, windows, railings, terraces or benches. Another important element of the architectural composition is the vegetation: creeping plants along the street font and the party walls, planted common space that includes a tree, private gardens and green roofs.

Image Courtesy Julien Lanoo

Image Courtesy Julien Lanoo

Image Courtesy Julien Lanoo

Image Courtesy Julien Lanoo



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Category: Residential

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