Guesthouse with shop, restaurant and private penthouse and green terraces/roof gardens in centre of Brussels
Little Willy is the name of an innovative project in the trendy "Quartier Dansaert" in the centre of Brussels, housing a B&B, a shop/gallery, a restaurant and a private residence. On a tiny plot, LOW architecten proposes the concept of a structure that ‘overgrows' the old 19th century dwelling.
The brief is to design a state of the art building, housing a variety of functions; to almost ‘build' extra space in the old city centre and to create a very warm and welcoming atmosphere for guests and residents.
LOW transforms a single house into a guesthouse and duplex penthouse. The existing neo-classical building is historically valuable and will be thoroughly renovated. In order to create extra room for guests, for a restaurant, shop, gallery and duplex apartment, an extension on the adjacent plot appears inevitable. The various residential units are separated by extremely generous outdoor spaces such as green roofs or rooftop terraces.
Integration & morphology
The new volume blends in perfectly with its surroundings, yet it evokes an interesting dialogue between old and new. The angle represents the transition between the different building heights of both streets. The new volume is built up and cut gradually in order to create a ‘light' body from a volumetric point of view. This generates space for large private terraces, for views to the inner area and to the public domain. Thanks to this physical link between the inner and the public area, extra light is brought into the existing, relatively dark street.
The contrast in material between old and new contributes to the overall appeal of the guesthouse in a neighbourhood consisting mainly of neo-classical dwellings. The new building is made of high-quality architectural concrete (anthracite), while the plaster of the existing mansion is fully restored.
Eco friendly measures are taken: rainwater utilization, ventilation with heat recovery and super thermal insulating and sun proof glass. A high efficiency boiler with a combined static / dynamic concept in function of actual use is installed and a mini windmill will generate electric power.
Urban added value
The Little Willy project contributes significantly to the urban regeneration of this specific area, which started several years ago. The preservation of valuable heritage combined with an innovative expansion results in a striking, iconic and integrated complex. It boosts the positive image of the neighbourhood.