The Brussels canal area is still characterized today by its former industrial use with the waterway as its infrastructural backbone. For a long time now the water front has regained interest as a potential site for residential development. The site of the former national post services Bpost is one of the developments located between the canal and the office district situated around Brussels North station. Stephane Beel architects developed a masterplan for this site, arranging four buildings around an inner courtyard functioning as a garden room. 51N4E is responsible for the design of the building located along Willebroekkaai, which thus stands between the protected courtyard on one side and the busy street on the other. The two sides of the building are hence approached with differentiated typological strategies to make the most of their diverging contexts.

On the courtyard side, the building exploits the quiet scenery: studios are installed along that facade, each offering 3 ‘royal’ windows, 180° openable towards a balcony creating a strong open relationship with the more silent inner courtyard. On the street side, the building strives to create a strong alliance with the park situated across the road, to help express its potential as a more open and attractive park which is seen as a strong quality for the housing units. The one-bedroom-apartments on that side are reinterpreted as 3-room-appartements: a living area, a bedroom and a loggia. All 3 rooms are connected to each other and maximize the use of this small living unit, turning it into a generous apartment. The loggias allow to dissociate the living areas from the busy boulevard, acting both as a buffer zone and a sheltered spot offering the residents with a panoramic view on the city park. Because of their layout and their possibility to be closed off from the street with simple sliding glass panels, these loggias can also function perfectly as valuable winter gardens.

mixed-use development
mixed typologies