ATELIER KEMPE THILL WINS EUROPEAN TENDER TRANSFORMATION FLORAIR HOUSING IN BRUSSELS (JETTE) / BELGIUM
Atelier Kempe Thill has recently won the European tender for the transformation of two apartment blocks in the Brussels district of Jette. In the closed competition five teams were involved.
The two apartment blocks are located in a hilly park – alike setting in a green urban part of the Brussels agglomeration next to sports facilities. The existing buildings are well designed examples of the modernism of the fifties with generous, well composed façades of prefab – concrete in combination with elegant steel windows. These qualities the client wants to keep despite the strong impact the renovation will have with a thermal insulation according to contemporary standards.
The concept takes a re – interpretation of the existing architecture as a starting point. For that reason the façade will be entirely wrapped with insulation and covered again with a new layer of prefabricated concrete elements in combination with new windows with large glass panes and strongly articulated frames to find a new architectural reading of the buildings. Thickness, colour and alignment of the concrete vary to find a reinterpretation of the decorative works on the original façade.
Paradoxically, to reach again elegance the façade is thus oversimplified and coarsened. To save this architecture, it in fact has to be destroyed and recreated.