The area has a lot of natural advantages: a central location, bustling, excellent public transport links (right above the Maelbeek metro station, a major road network close by, well-served by buses) and already earmarked for redevelopment. When it came to design, an architectural competition was held to define a new urban landscape for the area, allowing for taller buildings while clearing more space on the ground for pedestrians. New regulations were put in place for zoned urban development to facilitate the creation of more pedestrian links and parklands and add a more human and iconic touch to the district.
The involvement of Ergon, A CRH Company, as a contractor on this major project contributed to both the architectural creativity and sustainability of the development. The use of specially-designed pre-stressed beams and pre-stressed hollow core slabs – which also take up less space, making the challenge of accessibility during construction easier to deal with – allowed for greater flexibility and style in the design. This also gave the developer the flexibility to easily change intended offices to apartments, and vice-versa, based on demand.
The office part of the complex is a passive building, which means it has very low energy consumption. This was achieved through: the use of high-performance insulation in the skin of the building; its compactness; the limitation of losses by controlling the airtightness of the building; and the optimisation of the heating and cooling techniques implemented. Ergon’s intelligent use of slender beams and columns contributed greatly to this.
The result is a stylish, modern and sustainable development of 97 apartments, 29,511 m² of offices, 160 parking spaces and 850 m2 of shops right in the heart of the European quarter of Brussels.