The Cité Moderne is the epitome of Brussels garden cities. The Cité as a whole (with more than 270 inhabitants and numerous types of home) exemplifies high quality in its architectural and spatial design and in its building efficiency. These architectural treasures and their listing, which is designed to ensure the whole city remains coherent, come up against modern needs and standards as regards varying aspects of habitability and comfort with too narrow living rooms, non-existent kitchens and bathrooms, inadequate heating, lack of water production, no insulation, and dated construction in bad condition. Add to this the demand for spacious social housing and the need to meet current regulations.
The buildings under renovation have an atypical design developed by Victor Bourgeois: the ‘bovenhuizen’ a specific type of maisonette design. A 2-bed apartment sits above a 3-bed duplex, itself designed like a two-storey townhouse. Each unit has its own independent entrance, with the top-level apartment’s staircase serving only that apartment. This constitutes an original design with two staircases per unit, in a compact rectangular formation.
The project consists of the restoration of the listed aspects: the façades, roofs and accesses, with the most sensitive approach possible, plus the transformation of the interiors to turn the two units into a single-family home. The four existing units composed of 10 small rooms become two medium-sized units, with four bedrooms each, including one double. This complete yet calculated reconfiguration of the internal spaces, in keeping with the layout and distribution principles characterised by these homes, whilst opening up and regrouping certain units, ties in with our ambition to start a wave of renovation that could be progressively repeated, in order to breathe new life, a long and full life, into the Cité Moderne.