Van Volxem

Brussels
Belgium

A former industrial site alongside the Paris-Brussels rail line and close to the Brussels South TGV station, the site offers many benefits for the development of a broad range of activities. But the originality of the site suggested an approach that broke with traditional office building solutions. Also, the architects had the brief to renovate an existing building adjacent to the site and restore a listed building on the far south of the area. The architects were able to create a coherent and agreeable environment that met the needs of each part of the project by creating six distinct buildings of around 3,500 m2 each, separated by access ways, gardens and pools. The design called for buildings of four to seven floors, with very high ceilings for better air-flow featuring wide bay windows through which light and sunshine can enter, regulated by a solar protection process. Abandoning basic air conditioning, heating and cooling techniques, made it possible to work with engineers to find alternative solutions, in the form of thermal exchanges and geothermal resources. Ecological concerns affected both the construction and the life of the building as well as its immediate environment. The choice of materials and techniques, the lightness of the equipment used as well as the flexibility of the spaces are all with a view to achieving sustainable development, as is the use of renewable energy and water reprocessing techniques. These buildings, with their very low energy consumption are, of course, of interest to the public sector, while their attractiveness to users is an undoubted added commercial sales argument.

An efficient envelope using simple, robust and durable materials.
A construction system conducive to prefabrication and raw materials.
Large sunbreakers bring the finishing touch to the building and help to define its identity.

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