Centrale Werkplaatsen

Leuven (B)

AGSL and Dijledal

Urban design
Projectteam Stadsontwerp (Marcel Smets)


6.675 m2

30 homes for elderly and less-able occupants
The design was made in response to a European Union invitation to tender for the construction of 30 homes for elderly and less-able occupants. JSA and four other agencies were asked to present their views on this challenge. The location is between Werkhuizenstraat and the new square to be constructed on the site of the former central railway workshops, just east of Leuven’s town centre. The demolition of the relatively closed-off brick building currently in this location will make it possible to furnish both the street and the square with higher-quality, more interesting buildings that are better suited to the town’s requirements.

Against this background, our proposal is for a transparent, light, informal building that functions as an intermediary between Werkhuizenstraat and the new square. The structure will be based on stacked decks, so that the ground level and the upper, residential floors will be oriented toward all sides equally. In this design, the apartments do not have outdoor space on one side and an interior corridor on the other, but are surrounded on all sides by a multifunctional outdoor space, the deck. This deck connects the apartments and includes both private balconies and meeting places, without making strict distinctions between these uses. In typological terms, it can best be compared to an urban veranda.

The 108-by-18-m2 building will be composed of three partly enclosed upper levels reminiscent of pavilions, on top of a transparent ground level with an underground parking garage. There will be thirty apartments in total, fifteen for elderly and fifteen for less-able occupants. The ground level will include commercial space, studios, and service areas. The lobby for the apartments will also be located there, along with a route between the square and Werkhuizenstraat.

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