This new sustainable social housing project in St-Agatha-Berchem, Belgium was completed this year and takes inspiration from historic projects in the city. The cubic, contemporary project was designed by Buro II & Archi+I to exceed Belgium's new energy efficiency standards. The white cubic volumes are accented with warm wood and rich green garden areas, and the complex also takes advantage of solar power, rainwater collection and eco-friendly materials.
The new social housing units by Buro II & Archi+I were inspired by the social housing district built in 1922-1925 by architect Victor Bourgeois. There are two groupings – one on Beheersstraat with 43 units and the other one is along the Dendermondestraat with 32 units. Both feature white cubic volumes with flat roofs that are either classically aligned or in a sawtooth configuration. The design features a number of similarities to Bourgeois’ Cité Moderne, including the use of reinforced concrete, flat roofs, private gardens, and orientation towards the sun.
Buro II & Archi+I designed the project to strike a balance between economic, technical and social criteria while offering exceptional architectural quality and excellent energy performance. The low-energy housing units have an E level (Belgium energy performance level) of 60 for the apartments and 50 or less for the houses. Beyond energy performance, the project features solar panels, rainwater recovery, environmentally friendly materials, and optimized insulation and ventilation.
Images ©Filip Dujardin