Location: Hasselt, Belgium
Category: Private collective housing
Type: Renovation
Surface: 1005 m²
Status: 2007-2009, completed

A typical building from the 1970s, originally conceived of as a student dorm with 27 studios, needed to be to thoroughly refurbished. Both the facades and the interiors were outdated, functionally as well as technically. The building felt claustrophobic because of the many small units and narrow hallways. The complete absence of thermal insulation was not only environmentally prohibitive but also a lack of basic comfort. We proposed to reduce the number of units to nine: two apartments on each floor and a penthouse on the top floor. The ground level was also transformed into a commercial space.

The apartment layouts were structured into functional day and night zones. The broad bay windows with large windowsills gave the new façade a distinctive, symmetrical rhythm. Transparent balustrades in floating glass added both depth and reflection to the façade. The project, which involved stripping down the existing building to its bare structure, shows how renovation can be a valid alternative in construction.

During the refurbishment, the entire building was upgraded to offer modern thermal and technical comfort sustainable for the next forty years.