MDW Architecture has done an awesome job of giving the old, energy-hogging Le Lorrain apartment complex in Brussels a striking green makeover. By raising the apartment building and three terraced homes above the adjoining tall walls, the team managed to bring in a lot more natural light, which significantly reduces each apartment's energy consumption. Additionally, they've added new individual and communal green spaces without detracting from the initial industrial-chic feel of the complex.
Previously, walls blocked most of the light that would have otherwise penetrated the buildings, so MDW raised the complex’s elevation so that it is now illuminated during the day without artificial lighting. Each new simplex, duplex, and triplex has a private garden, and additional communal parks have been planted to further encourage a connection to nature.
The building’s existing facade was incorporated into the renovation, and the new grey metallic slats fit well into the original industrial character. Metal has been used internally and externally where the design calls for durability, whereas wood has been used to give doors, frames, and other tactile spaces a warm look. Although the Le Lorrain is not as splashy as some of our starchitect projects it does demonstrate how urgently we need to green existing buildings without using too many new materials.