Three's company...

Rodolphe Mertens Architects completes residential building for three living units

by James 29 December 2012
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    The client being a building contractor specialised in timber construction, the main point of the brief was to provide a first sample on the Luxembourgian scale of a residential building entirely made of wood. The building is located in a medium-density residential area of the city, with traditional buildings from the 30’s to the 60’s.

    Though the district is felt as lively, the street in itself is perceived as somehow dull and there was a wish the building could act as a local highlight. The plot in itself was unbuilt and neglected, and was used as a makeshift parking place as well as a meeting point for drug addicts. So far since completion, feedbacks from the neighbourhood have been very positive and the building is perceived as a local landmark.

    The building was made to stand on stilts to allow parking places on the ground floor, to circumvent local regulations otherwise restrictive for car access. As the site orientation meant the biggest façade was to be exposed to North, decision was taken to locate living spaces to the street, on the Eastern side, as visual depth and natural light penetration were best. From initial stages, the building has been designed for optimum energy performance.

    The structure from first floor up is essentially composed of cross-laminated timber panels. As the structure was pre-assembled, the building was completed in a period of 5 months, with maximum control of assembly and security measures. Insulation and air-tightness performances have been monitored all along building site.

    As a prime case of a residential building made of wood, the city services for fire prevention were acknowledged from developments from design stages. City services felt sufficiently confident in general design to allow the lift cavity to be made as well in timber structure.

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