Interbellum lodgings start second life

On June 17th, Saint Lazarus’ Court was officially opened, while the Cité Vandeuren in Ixelles is fully under development. Both projects are renovations of social housing from the interbellum period. VK contributes to the revaluation of this valuable heritage that is starting a second life.

Like many cities, Brussels has to deal with a shortage of housing. Consequently, in its regulations, Brussels Capital Region strongly focuses on “housing all the way”. The regional planning requirements safeguards the residential density. This includes budgeting for the renovation of social housing.

Saint Lazarus’ Court (dating from 1927) and Cité Vandeuren (from 1930) are cases in point. The valuable heritage from the interbellum period, respectively by architect Joseph Diongre and architect J. Caluwaers, no longer met the present living standards. In both projects, the accommodations are modernized to meet contemporary norms. This entails a reduction of the number of units: from 180 to 84 for Saint Lazarus’ Court, from 122 to 87 for Cité Vandeuren.

Saint Lazarus’ Court

The renovation of Saint Lazarus’ Court focused on quality of living, communal provisions (multifunctional hall, bike station …), the building services and energy savings. VK took charge of the entire engineering.

Structurally, the project was thoroughly adjusted, to transform the originally 180 units into 84 units with contemporary standards regarding comfort. Furthermore, a number of structural interventions improved the accessibility for disabled persons. Technically, the focus was directed on improving the thermal performance and modernizing the communal building services. A reduced energy demand is one of the requirements for receiving grants for the renovation of social housing. Developer Beliris invested €14,000,000 in the renovation of Saint Lazarus’ Court.

Cité Vandeuren

The renovation of Cité Vandeuren focuses on quality and diversity of living, revitalization of the courtyard and reducing the energy consumption. VK took charge of the structural engineering for this renovation.

The biggest challenge consists in conserving the existing facades at the front, while also improving their thermal quality. In addition, all existing lintel beams are being replaced, as well as the masonry on the interior and the existing floors. For the new rear facades, prefabricated elements of FSC-wood are being applied. Contractor Artes published a movie on YouTube of the construction site in March. Click here to watch it.

Completion is planned for the end of 2016.