In the centre of Heusden–Zolder, the former old school site has been replaced by a new hybrid infrastructure that connects contemporary living with care living and economic activity. Above ground, the project is divided into two parts. The volume in the eastern part is made up of four ground-floor retail spaces, on top of which three two-storey building blocks are placed. By placing these volumes on the edges, a new ground level is created along which the dwellings are accessed. In the western section, three-storey flats are built with studios for people with mental and motor disabilities over two storeys. Because people also live on the ground floor in this section, the buildings here are set one meter higher. This increases the privacy of these dwellings and maintains the horizontal stratification in the façades. The difference in height of one meter is compensated for by a combination of a sloping surface and lazy stairs. It is exactly in this zone that the project is cut in half.


The load-bearing residential partition walls and inner wall of the facades were constructed from load-bearing sand-lime brick, partly because of their excellent acoustic properties. For the floors, a classical construction with wide slabs with concrete in-fill was chosen. The façades are mainly made of brick. The choice of a yellow-white hue, sanded brick, creates a fresh and lively façade that fits in with the character of the centre. The building layers are visually separated from one another by broad strips of vertically placed brickwork. In the exterior joinery, the use of bronzed aluminium profiles adds a warm touch to the façade. Window sills, roof edges, cantilevered terraces and the terrace floors are made of light-grey architectural concrete.


The project intends to be more than just a residential project or commercial space. It has the ambition to give the centre a new face. Not by shouting, but by fitting in with the existing characteristic of the surroundings and building on the current qualities of the place. The hybrid character of the project recharges the centre by connecting different programmes. For example, the care housing is related to the everyday and the mix of living with commercial activity creates a lively urban core, both in the evening and during the day.




Heusden Zolder, Belgium


Housing and commercial


a2o, Burolandschap


Stijn Bollaert


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