The Groen Steenbrugge project is located on the outskirts of the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bruges, directly on the canal towards Ghent. Since only its east-facing narrow side abuts the road along the waterway, the 3,000-square-metre property is well screened from raffic. At the entrance there is a passable old manor house, which, having been renovated and equipped with a new roof, has been converted to provide student housing. Previously, a run-down multi-storey car park stood next door.

Project details

Project Groen Steenbrugge
Architect Architecten Groep III
Client
private
Products used
Terca Wasserstrich Kogelbloem, Koramic Plato
Area
office: 1,000 m²; houses total: 1,304 m²

Groen Steenbrugge covered with Terca Wasserstrich Kogelbloem tiles

Groen Steenbrugge, Belgium © Fien Muller

Groen Steenbrugge covered with Terca Wasserstrich Kogelbloem tiles

Groen Steenbrugge, Belgium © Dries Van den Brande

Groen Steenbrugge covered with Terca Wasserstrich Kogelbloem tile

Groen Steenbrugge, Belgium © Architecten Groep III

Groen Steenbrugge covered with Terca Wasserstrich Kogelbloem tile

Groen Steenbrugge, Belgium © Architecten Groep III

The buildings and their function

Architecten Groep III tore down the car park and built a new four-storey office building for themselves across from the manor. These two tall structures now frame the entrance to the complex, which extends to the rear with a broad pedestrian and bike path. Rather than being parcelled into streets, parking areas and pavements, the area is shared by eight houses. Cars are parked in an underground car park with 27 spaces, which is accessible from each building via a private stairway. “The starting point for the plans was to make responsible and reasonable use of the space,” the architects explain their concept. The variety of functions required of residential buildings, student rooms and office areas led to different structures with orientations and densities appropriate to their purpose.

Attractive environment for all activities

A lot can happen in this open space over the course of a day: children play in front of the large office windows; students and families congregate at the outdoor barbecue grill; neighbors meet to have a chat. The space has developed into a large common area that nevertheless respects the privacy of the residents.

Pointing the way to sustainability

The floor plans of the houses have a compact design. The storey above a large ground level common area for cooking, dining and living accommodates three rooms plus a bathroom and a toilet. Above that lies the attic. The degree to which additional energy saving systems were to be incorporated into the buildings was left to the residents. The architects showed them what investments they could make in environmentally friendly technologies, such as geothermal energy, managed ventilation, additional insulation and so forth. Their own office building, which is equipped with a geothermal pump, serves as an example.
The common feature of all the buildings is brick façades, for which very simple bricks were used. The differences between the façades stem from the brick bonds and the thickness of the joints (thin-bed joints in the residential buildings, glued joints in the office building). The colors of the bricks are carried over to the roof tiles.

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