Project Entry 2020 for Europe

Last updated: June 14, 2021 Brussels, Belgium

Reusing Brussels Social Housing Infrastructure

Reuse can provide us with tools to improve the current quality of living that affects a very vulnerable sector of society and can also reduce the number of square meters constructed in new areas. The increase in rents and purchase prices created a serious crisis manifested in social housing in a poor state. Sustainability, therefore, can be reached by diminishing the number of new constructions that jeopardize green areas while tackling social inequalities.The project not only thinks of reuse in terms of infrastructure, but it also considers spatial reuse by reconfiguring existing degrading inhabitable areas. With the material from the demolition of dividing walls, residents designed new texturized walls that created a more personal dialogue with the intervention.

Sustainable benefits of rethinking domestic space

Tackling the current crisis in Brussels housing provided a huge window of opportunities to think about sustainability in terms of reuse. The project also addresses a diversity of typology of living that goes from having originally two main typologies to having six. This new diversity approaches a variety of families and situations benefitting from shared spaces and kitchenless apartments. Domesticity is challenged by reducing areas such as kitchens that produce more waste individually than collectively. The new typologies go from having 40m2 (average) to 90m2 (average). It also rethinks parking spaces by rethinking one level and turning it into green areas providing shared open spaces and facilities. The reconversion provokes a different lecture of space and sustainability.

The concept of sharing

The project envisions the concept of "sharing" as a political, economic and social force that can prevent the current crisis in disengagement of society to expand. This crisis talks about a dominating individualism that consumes more energy and resources. The concept of sharing can gradually reduce excessive consumerism and eventually produce spaces that are more sustainable because they consume fewer means. Sharing is also viewed as a principle and as an action that can provide us with design tools that can challenge the current forces of domesticity, urban planning, land-use, transportation, etc. and reorient them into practices that can turn our living spaces into territories of diversity, flexibility, and less resource consumption.