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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.

Social Housing Estate Venning in Kortrijk, Belgium by BURO II & ARCHI+I

 
July 1st, 2015 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: BURO II & ARCHI+I

The social housing company Goedkope Woning at Kortrij k initiated a comprehensive upgrade of its outdated assets in 2008. It intentionally put the emphasis on healthier homes, rational and more efficient use of space, lower energy consumption and low maintenance costs. At the same time, it also aims fundamentally to reorient the liveability of the neighbourhoods, to integrate into the existing social setting to the greatest possible extent.

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

  • Architects: BURO II & ARCHI+I
  • Project: Social Housing Estate Venning
  • Location: Spinnerijkaai, Tapijtweverstraat, Tekenaarslaan, Damastweverstraat in Kortrijk, Belgium
  • Photography: Gerald Van Rafelghem
  • Team: Urban planner: Arch. Herman Jult [project director], Arch. Dieter Haemers [design architect], Ir. arch. Nancy Latruwe [project architect], Urban planner-arch. Bart Dewilde [urban planning] – Landscapes, architect Marjolein Eggermont [landscape architecture], Int.arch. Bart Decloedt [interior architect], Antoon Vancommernolle [structural conception], Frederik Carrein [structural work]
  • Client: Goedkope Woning cvba
  • Masterplanning: evr-Architecten
  • Description:
    • Phase 1a (bloc ABC): 70 apartements + 45 semi-subterranean parkings
    • Phase 1b (bloc D): 12 pile dwellings of which 6 are for disabled people + 17 adjacent parkings
    • Phase 2: 64 land-based new homes with garden [replacement construction], of which 24 pile dwellings
    • Phase 3: 50 houses to renovate
    • Phase 4: Public roads, sewerage and environmental work
Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

  • Status: 
    • Handover date: Phase 1: completed on 08 february 2013, Phase 2&3: completed in 2015,  Phase 4: design phase
  • Surfaces:
    • Area surface: 44.340 m²
    • Gross floor are: Phase 1a: 9.767,04 m² [5 construction layers] + Fase 1b: 1.099,98 m² [3 construction layers]
    • Phase 2: 7.289,32 m²
    • Bloc 1 – 1.555,70 m² [16 ent ] / bloc 2 – 698,25 m² [6 ent] /
    • Bloc 3 – 1.048,59 m² [9 ent] / bloc 4 – 796,91 m² [6 ent] / bloc 5 – 544,77 m² [4 ent]
    • Bloc 6 – 987,58 m² [8 ent] / bloc 7 – 785,50 m² [8 ent ] / bloc 8 – 872,02 m² [7 ent]
    • Phase 3: 7.320,12 m²
  • Energy Performance [EPB]: E level: E22-30 – K level: K15
Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Thus, for example, it has been ensured that each neighbourhood offers a variety of house designs in keeping with the big changes that tenants and their families will experience over the course of their lives. It offers residents even more opportunities to take responsibility for their own living environment, and to be more socially engaged in their own, largely multicultural, neighbourhood.

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

This highly ambitious project was one of the entries competing for grants of substantial European Concerto subsidies for energy-efficient construction in 2009. The proposed “ECO Life Project” was chosen from the many international entries – for the first time in Belgium. The project at Kortrij k was submitted along with the Danish project at Høje Taastrup and another project at Birštonas, Lithuania. Goedkope Woning’s local partners are the architects BURO II & ARCHI+I, Ghent University, Eco-power, EVR architects, E-ster and the City of Kortrij k. The project period runs from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2015.

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

The ECO-Life project comprises various sub-projects in Kortrij k: the Pottenbakkershoek, Venning district and apartment blocks at Drie Hofsteden. The project aims to prove the feasibility and profitability of thoroughgoing sustainable construction and CO2 neutrality within the social housing sector, provided there are sufficiently experienced designers and contractors, sufficiently strong political will in favour of redevelopment, and strong support from the residents, both during and after the completion of work.

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Venning garden city was built in the 1960s on the far side of Kortrij k–Bossuit canal. It comprised 163 homes for rent, many of which were smaller than 30m2. From the January 2010 start, the neighbourhood was split into three zones so that temporary relocation of residents could be co-ordinated with the advance of building and reconstruction work. After one year of preparation, during which the plans were prepared and permits were issued, 34 houses on the canal side were demolished in the spring of 2011 and replaced with 70 new energy selfsuffi client apartments and 12 granny-flats. On 11 June 2013, the first phase was inaugurated and occupied. In the meantime, a second phase of 64 new homes had already been launched, while the third phase was launched the next autumn, with the renovation of 50 existing homes.

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

At present – after 4 years’ work – all 196 homes in the neighbourhood are ready for occupation. From early 2016, public areas of the project will be further upgraded with the construction of a cycleway/ footpath that will pass through the neighbourhood, as well as a renovated, greener Juweliersplein. In this way, the social ‘ghetto district’ of Venning will soon be transformed into the fi rst CO2-neutral neighbourhood in Flanders. It now features its own heating system, which is maintained at the appropriate temperature by a heating plant powered by wood chips.

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

During summer 2013 the University of Ghent began its research project, under which energy consumption in the neighbourhood will be constantly monitored and measured. The project will run until 2016. Its findings are expected to prove to Europe the actual fulfilment of the promised performance of these homes. The study will provide us with much information on how residents handle the new facilities, and which facilities they find more suitable than others. De Venning is the first large-scale research project in which different construction and ventilation systems are studied, tested and compared against each other. During and after the study, discussions will be held with the residents to find out how optimal results can be achieved.

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Needless to say, ECO-Life is more than merely an energy-effi cient project with well insulated, well ventilated houses that use solar power to the full. Among other things, Goedkope Woning pays a great deal of attention to the outdoor communal areas which it is responsible for building and managing in consultation with the residents.

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

A network of paths makes garden storage and communal parking accessible to everyone. A large number of fruit trees, berry bushes and walnut trees were planted in the communal garden. These are mainly old varieties that can no longer be found in supermarkets. Solar panels help limit the energy costs of the collective LED lighting. The opening-up of the homes with their own private gardens, also smart design of the environment, also encourage social contact. The ecological nature of the neighbourhood is evident in WADI (Water Drainage through Infiltration) and the buffer canals, while the white houses and apartments have a sunny feel of a holiday resort rather than a social housing estate.

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

The prejudice against ‘disadvantaged areas’ of bygone years has completely disappeared, yielding to a more optimistic perspective on individual and communal life. In recent years, much effort has been expended in order to ensure a fundamental transformation in a completely individual manner. The fear of total renewal is now a thing of the past, even at local level. The neighbourhood has become a benchmark not only for other neighbourhoods of Goedkope Woning, work at all of which will be commencing shortly, but for all the neighbourhoods in Flanders, irrespective whether they be residential or dubbed ‘social’.

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

The upgrade of Venning district cost around €35 million, of which subsidies from Europe accounted for about 10%. It seems a lot, but this should be enough to function well for the next 40 years. The neighbourhood expanded from 163 to 196 homes, many of which are for large families, with 21 specially-adapted homes for wheelchair users. The diversity of home types makes it possible to continue to live there permanently. Energy consumption declined by approx. 12.5% compared with previous consumption.

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © Gerald Van Rafelghem

Image Courtesy © BURO II & ARCHI+I

Image Courtesy © BURO II & ARCHI+I

Image Courtesy © BURO II & ARCHI+I

Image Courtesy © BURO II & ARCHI+I

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Categories: Apartments, Housing Development

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