INNOVATIVE CONVERSION OF A LANDMARK SITE
In 1989, the Society for the Development of the Brussels Capital Region purchased a large portion of the landmark Arsenal site. Since then, a number of high-end companies have taken up residence in the historic buildings.
In 1999, the building located on the corner of boulevard Louis Schmidt and chaussée de Wavre was refurbished and converted into an upmarket restaurant.
In 2004, AG Real Estate launched a new project with the intention of completing construction on the site. The objective was to add a 9,000 m² office building, (2) an ICT business incubation centre sponsored by the VUB (Flemish Free University of Brussels), (3) public landscaped gardens complete with park benches and a decorative fountain, (4) a restaurant housed in the former boiler room, (5) office space for service providers, and (6) three residential buildings, each featuring 32 apartments.
The first stone was laid in October 2005, and four years later, the Arsenal site was fully completed and occupied.
RESIDENTIAL CONCEPT: SIMPLE, HIGHLY FUNCTIONAL APARTMENTS
Each of the buildings has a ground floor plus three storeys of apartments and a roof area for the duplexes. There is access to the car park and entrance halls from the garden level. The 96 apartments and duplexes offer a choice of two- or three-bedroom configurations with surface areas ranging from 100 m2 to 150 m2.
All of floor-through apartments run the entire depth of the building, with open views on either side including a pleasant view of the tree-lined common area.
The living rooms feature a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that opens out to a spacious southwest-facing terrace.
The bedrooms are located on the northeast, cooler side of the property.
The original construction materials feature prominently in the design: natural stone for the basement and foundations, baked earth brick for the facings, and metal for the windows and railings.
A large natural stone wall topped with fencing pays homage to the history of the site in addition to providing extra protection and security.
Architecture firms Archi 2000 and Atlante joined forces to design this project.
"The Arsenal property was the ideal opportunity to showcase our talents. Our task was to combine new construction with major renovation on a partially renovated site while also preserving the historic landmark’s architectural legacy.
Staying true to the Arsenal’s military history, we designed a mixed-use development on the derelict two-thirds of the property. It was an interesting mix of office space and residential apartments as well as a restaurant and a business incubator that would house university spin-offs and other innovative scientific research startups. Special attention was paid to landscape design and driveways and to create safe passageways. The Arsenal site was completed in mid-2009, after four years of construction, creating thousands of jobs and approximately one hundred homes in the process. It represents an investment of nearly €75 million for a total surface area of 27,000 m² divided into seven buildings."
Alain De Coster, Chief Development Officer