Architectes Associés completes construction of Europe's largest 'passive' office building
At the end of 2005 the 'Maison du Travail' launched an open competition in order to build its new headquarters. Sustainable development and 'passive' low energy design were to be linked to a contemporary approach, sensitive to its urban context. Above all, the project was to be maintained strictly within the constraints of its economic framework.
Aeropolis II was, at conception, with its 7,400 sq m of office surface, the biggest passive office building in Europe. In 2007 it became one of Brussels Exemplary Buildings and was nominated for the Belgian Architecture and Energy Awards in 2011. For this project the architects endorse a global, objective and rational approach, conscious of the buildings impact on social, logistic and economic fronts. Priority is given to energy reducing architectural design techniques and best in class renewable materials. Major financial efforts are made to achieve a highly effective, completely prefabricated, thermal insulating envelope.
Large wood frames either form a thickly insulated panel with a translucent glass cladding; or they frame high performance triple glazing. The windows are of variable widths, playing with their placement, following the organisation of the different office floors. Exterior solar protection reduces the incoming heat, without hindering the generous flow of daylight. The compact volume wraps around a central patio, thus lowering thermal loss. Maximum comfort is insured in all office spaces.
Fresh outside air is passed through an earth-air heat exchanger, preconditioning the incoming air, after which it is passed to the heat recuperating ventilation system. During the day the load bearing concrete structure absorbs the heat produced in the workspaces; during the night the free cooling draws in fresh air (through automated windows) and cools the concrete. The architects are now developing the prefab wooden facades in further projects, like the ELIA Nearly Zero Energy Building and Brussels GreenBizz, an environmental business incubator.