City council Etterbeek
Util (structural engineering)
Hp engineers (technical engineering)
Filip Dujardin, Jeroen Verrecht
On an introverted urban plot on avenue d’Auderghem in the municipality of Etterbeek, an intergenerational pool is currently being built with diligence. Social housing, crèche, auditorium, multipurpose foyer, meeting centre, toy library: loose ends are being tied together and connected with the neighbouring school and environment. The urban acupuncture of BXL100 is here becoming a reality. URA won the competition in the context of a sustainable neighbourhood contract.
It is with kid gloves that the architects are intervening in the existing situation. Demolition is being limited, building and topography restructured. The trapeze-shaped wall incision and the fan-shaped crèche and auditorium provide maximum openness and connection with the formal diversity of garden walls and differences in level.
On the western plot border, a former boules club, once designed by Pierre Blondel, has been tactfully converted into a toy library. An indented garden path departs from here – or ends here, depending on your point of view – in the direction of avenue d’Auderghem. A former house, on the one hand, and a new construction, on the other, provide access to the interior area. The ground floor has been kept deliberately porous to draw in the city and to draw the garden out into the city.
The house is being transformed into a meeting place for young parents, and the new construction includes a crèche, social housing and access to the auditorium with a multipurpose foyer on the ground floor. The foyer, the project’s connecting centre, connects the different spaces and levels to each other with the help of some interior and exterior windows.
The concrete shell of the auditorium has been left visible on the ceiling. For acoustic reasons, the walls have been covered with blue felt. Together with the discreet overhead lighting, the royal blue heightens the sense of safety in the heart of this city in the city. [Francis Carpentier]