Cité Van Meulecom was initially made up of small apartments destined for the elderly. Built in 1929 by architect François Van Meulecom, the building formed part of a wider whole, a real workers’ housing development in an urban fabric which was at the time primarily rural. Even though these substandard apartments are no longer in line with our modern way of life, the spaciousness of the interiors and the atypical shape of the development make this a great opportunity for the SLRB (Brussels Housing Association) to offer good quality social housing.
The idea is to divide the building into a group of terraced single-family homes to house large families, while increasing the density of the block. A logical approach which will subsequently allow for savings in terms of maintenance, construction work and management. With every home having a patio and private garden, the focal point of outside space in the Cité and its relationship with the neighbours in the block make the project an interesting challenge. It is through the communal spaces (vegetable patch, compost, manual water pump etc.) that the interior of the site becomes a place where people get together, a place for quality of life, and a place for socialising and positive contact.
Our approach goes beyond simply adapting the project to current specifications in terms of energy performance and habitability. It is to conserve buildings, use natural materials, install A+ natural ventilation systems, use infiltration for run-off water, install a communal vegetable patch etc. These principles dominate the project development from competition stage with the aim of minimising the overall impact of the project, while providing the most comfortable and sustainable lifestyle possible.