VBM Architecten designs housing project in De Mouterij - Belgium
Close to the city centre of Leuven and next to the river Dijle, this site lies inside an urban block. The existing buildings, dating from the 18th century, are treated as ‘objet trouvé’.
The site is virtually divided into 3 zones corresponding to 3 main typologies: zone 1 – the former stables transformed into 5 rowhouses with 2 bedrooms, zone 2 – the malt house transformed into 4 lofts and 2 duplexes, zone 3 – the wasteland built with new city villas with 3-4 bedrooms.
Due to the limited light access through the façades a special typology has been designed for zone 1: the detached houses get light in the back through the roof and the stairs. Front gardens and green fences assure the privacy on the ground floor. The interventions at the level of the façade are minimal.
As the free height of the existing floors was only 1.85 m, the levels of the malt house have been reorganised to accommodate the new lofts and duplexes. The façade becomes a palimpsest in which all historical interventions remain visible: the existing openings are filled with bricks and, at the same time, new openings corresponding to the new division are made. The windows are placed deep in the façade and have a vertical proportion for a minimized visual contact towards the neighbouring houses.