“In Brussels, urban development also means keeping production in the city center,” explained Kristiaan Borret, City Architect of the Belgian capital. Instead of moving existing facilities to the outskirts, they are integrated into the developing neighborhoods. Two projects of the Brussels Canal District masterplan received international recognition in 2017 by winning the 5th LafargeHolcim Awards in Europe.
More than 130 guests from architecture, urban planning and politics experienced how sustainable construction is applied in the Brussels Canal District, hosted by Holcim Belgium. Kristiaan Borret, City Architect (Bouwmeester), opened the event by advocating the central district must remain attractive for both “thinkers and makers”. It makes perfect sense to retain industry as part of the mixed-used development of the precinct, especially when taking into account the existing industrial infrastructure and the logistics advantages of the canal. The city masterplan tackles demographic, economic, social, environmental and territorial challenges for the urban (re-)development of the central district of Brussels. And to keep up with the changing needs of Brussels, its inhabitants and the environment, “masterplans need to be constantly adapted” Kristiaan Borret said.
Edward Schwarz, General Manager of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, noted that the independent jury of specialists considered Brussels to be an inspiring example of how to continue developing an urban precinct that is already highly developed. “The jury decided to declare Brussels a hotspot for sustainable development based on brilliant strategies to improve the built environment.” Two construction projects located in the Canal District by TETRA architecten and BC architects & studies were chosen to receive LafargeHolcim Awards Gold Europe 2017 ex aequo.
Creating jobs and public space
TETRA architecten from Brussels had already been acknowledged in a former Awards competition for their project “Construction materials recycling and logistics hub”. Soon to be opened, the flexible modular system of the “construction materials village” in the port of Brussels combines infrastructure with industrial and logistics activities. Annekatrien Verdickt from TETRA also presented their latest prize winning project “Adaptable structure for a garbage management company”, a facility that serves as workplace on the canal front for 500 Bruxelles Propreté employees. Both projects enable the integration of the client’s needs with (green) public spaces, while also setting aside areas for future development.
Staying local and traditional
Ken De Cooman referred to the LafargeHolcim Awards Acknowledgement prize winning “Socially-integrated office building with sustainable façade” project of BC architects & studies located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to illustrate how sustainability can be achieved by integrating traditional building materials and techniques as well as local craftsmanship to realize contemporary solutions. BC architects & studies, based in Brussels, shows that this approach also works in Europe with “Fort V” in Antwerp, a project to renovate and upgrade a warehouse into an educational facility, using compressed earth blocks from the neighborhood as well as natural local materials for insulation. Ken De Cooman stressed that sustainable construction is about respecting local design traditions, identities and materials combined with satisfying modern needs – and bringing together enthusiastic teams.
Claudia Albertini, CEO of Holcim Belgium, and Bart Daneels, Sales & Marketing Director, congratulated the winners on their projects and emphasized that the LafargeHolcim Group is engaged in sustainable development on all continents and with products and services to meet highest expectations also with regard to sustainability.See more
The winning entry of the architectural design competition for the headquarters of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) in Ethiopia aims to contribute to the spatial improvement of the urban environment, and to create an architectural dialog engaged in a global context with a strong local identity.
It does so by integrating public spaces at ground level, continuing the “busy-ness” of the street within the building. A façade made of “woven” locally-quarried trachyte stone – reminiscent of Ethiopian stone architecture and ancient textile techniques – regulates ventilation as well as sunlight.
The Acknowledgement prize-winning project by BC architects for construction in Ethiopia is featured in an exhibition of project posters and models that showcase the submissions by Belgian architects in the fourth cycle of the Holcim Awards competition. Organized by Holcim Belgium, the exhibition at Architects’ House, Rue Ernest Allardstraat 21 in Brussels is open Monday to Friday 9:00-12:30 or upon request until December 5, 2014.
Belgian architects performed particularly well in the 4th Holcim Awards competition. In addition to two prize-winning projects, a further 25 projects (24 in the Holcim Awards main category and one from the “Next Generation” category) are featured in the exhibition. Of the submissions, 17 are planned for construction in Belgium with others designed for sites in Abu Dhabi, Argentina, Burundi, Croatia, Denmark, Morocco, Russia and Turkey – illustrating the international reach of Belgian architectural practice.
he authors of all 25 projects were invited to the opening of the exhibition on November 24, providing a unique opportunity for networking on their flexible and innovative approaches to sustainability of the built environment.
For further information and bookings see: Belgian Architects at the Holcim Awards 2014See more
Ken De Cooman of BC architects, Belgium sees the most sustainable element of his Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize winning project as the use of local trachyte stone material that is linked with local identity and craftsmanship – but linked to a global program of the nation’s Chamber of Commerce headquarters. “Weaving Publicness: Socially-integrated office building with sustainable façade” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia aims to contribute to the spatial improvement of the urban environment, and to create an architectural dialog engaged in a global context with a strong local identity.
A socially-integrated office building with sustainable façade for the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Association’s headquarters in Ethiopia by Ken De Cooman and Wes Degreef of BC architects, Belgium and Adeyabeba Hailemariam of ABBA architects, Ethiopia received one of the five equally-ranked Acknowledgement prizes.Read more »
The jury acknowledges the architectural and spatial qualities of the building – a carefully crafted piece of architecture within the city fabric of Addis Ababa. Of particular importance is the sequence of public spaces “weaving” the hustle and bustle of the city streetscape deep into the new facilities of the Chamber of Commerce. Trade – as a form of interaction and key activity of civic life – evolves as the central theme of the design proposition. Additionally, the jury valued the façade structure and its composition as a fresh alternative to the outlandish curtain walls that clad high-rise building throughout the city.
The winning entry of the architectural design competition for the headquarters of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) in Ethiopia aims to contribute to the spatial improvement of the urban environment, and to create an architectural dialog engaged in a global context with a strong local identity. It does so by integrating public spaces at ground level, continuing the “busy-ness” of the street within the building. A façade made of “woven” locally-quarried trachyte stone – reminiscent of Ethiopian stone architecture and ancient textile techniques – regulates ventilation as well as sunlight.
Design principle 1: The public street as potential, creating “busy-ness” outside and inside the building. In the context of Addis Ababa, the street is the main public space that meets the community’s need for interaction. It is the place where the rich, middle and low-income classes meet in a complex interaction of people, commerce, stories and goods. Still today, roads in neighborhoods “are not just paths or thoroughfares. They are rather vibrant places of multi-tasking. Domestic activities and businesses extend and flow out into the streets ... furthermore, the streets are a social space of interaction.” – Dr Elias Yitbarak, What is Zemenawinet?
Within the project, there is potential to create this function of Addis Ababa’s streets: both on the outside and the inside of the proposed building. Firstly, on the outside, the building site is defined by three streets, and the building gives back valuable public space that facilitates trade, social interaction and exchange, in the form of three urban typologies: the urban park, the urban square and the urban stairs.
Secondly, on the inside, the building is defined by the grand ramp, that flows from the urban square into the building and circulates around the prominent space. The good characteristics of the street – informal meetings, trade and commerce, networking, vibrancy – become a main feature of the inner circulation activities of the Headquarter Building of the Chamber of Commerce. In this way a vibrant “busy-ness” and networking environment is instigated that is particularly necessary for the entrepreneurial world.
Design Principle 2: Ethiopian “glocal” architecture. The trachyte stone that will be used for façade cladding on the podium and for the structural façade on the tower is a locally quarried stone, and refers to the massiveness of vernacular and religious Ethiopian stone architecture. The façade of the tower also refers to the “Netela” (woven Ethiopian textile) that elegantly shows the threads of cotton and has a character of both shadow and transparency.
By linking this local material and façade to an architectural expressive form that could connect to a global entrepreneurial community, the Headquarters Building of the Chamber of Commerce is positioning itself as a true “glocal” architecture: a result of a cooperation between a new generation of Ethiopian and European architects, and of a growing Ethiopian economy that does not necessarily loose its identity.Download project entry poster (PDF, 2.46 MB) »See more
Shatha Safi of Riwaq Center for Architectural Conservation (Palestine) and Yara Sharif of NG Architects and Palestine …
Ken De Cooman of BC architects, Belgium sees the most sustainable element of his Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize …
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