This project entails the renovation of houses facing the street, the new construction of two apartment blocks (behind the houses) and the integration of a library and office spaces in the centre of Elsene. The project is part of a larger communal complex containing offices and a theater situated in the proximity of the town hall.
Transparence, dynamics and open spaces were the most important principles in the concept of this project.
The existing building, formerly used as office space, is renovated. The top levels will accommodate several administrative services of the community.
Within the existing block a new building is constructed as an extension of the ground floor, on which a part of the library is foreseen. The extension is both on street level and on the split level. In this way, we use the visibility of the library in the public area in an optimal way.
After the renovation, the building will be accessible through the existing entrance leading to a semi-public inner court. This is a traffic-free zone which will become a hub of different outdoor activities that will be organised by the community. The library entrance is situated in this courtyard area.
The extension softens and improves the appearance of these buildings and offers a new architectural quality. The façade of the library on the side of the inner area and patio is completely executed in glass in order to maximise the infiltration of light in the reading rooms. The transparency of the façades, the use of colour glass panels and the juxtaposition of indoor and outdoor spaces with different qualities create an open, airy public sphere, which is at the same time characterised by a great serenity and dynamism.
The semi-public outdoor spaces entail an additional quality to Elsene’s urban landscape: the depth of the building block is optimised as a public space providing the opportunity to rest and make new encounters. The rational design of the buildings strengthens the feeling of tranquility, necessary to ensure the quality of life in an urban area.