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A mix of housing, shops and green

The existing site is characterised by an inner zone paved with nearly 100% mineral and a street scape defined by vehicles and parking areas, with the accompanying social issues. For this project, in an effort to create quality space in the urban environment, we opted for an ideal blend of living-shopping-working and greenery in proximity to public transport facilities (train-bus):

 

– Converting a 100% mineral inner area today with above-ground parking and its social problem areas into a high quality green inner area soon to include, among other things, various community-driven activities;

– Focus on the navigability of the wider inner area from its own site;

– Accommodation of transparent (day) related functions on the plots located in core shopping area with the necessary social control of the inner area;

– Qualitative houses and studios to complete the two street fronts and with high standards of sustainability in the broadest sense of the word.

– Careful processing of the volumes in harmony with heritage and the medieval street ‘Diestsestraat’ in connection with the adjacent ‘blauwputgang’ and the protected gate building;

– Removal of the entire parking requirement and more from ground level due to underground parking.

Vanden Tymple - Diestestraat

With respect for yesterday, today and tomorrow

In accordance with the town planning regulations, the building fronts will be continued along the two adjoining streets in such a way that both in terms of building heights and building depths, a connection is sought with the existing buildings. The number of building heights imposed by the city of Leuven was respected on both Diestsestraat and Vanden Tymplestraat sides. From the cornices, aligned with the existing cornices of the adjoining buildings, a top storey retracted at 45° will be realised. The zoning is residential (studios and flats).

We ensured careful processing of the volumes in harmony with the area’s heritage and the medieval street ‘Diestsestraat’ following the adjacent ‘blauwputgang’ and the protected gate building.

The typical architectural design language of a ground floor showcase, as a kind of ‘pedestal’ and ‘frame’ in prefab concrete with upper floors in relief brick, is preserved.

The existing fineness of the façade composition and the use of different colours in the elaboration of the façade materials, i.e. brick and concrete, will also regain its original form, albeit in a contemporary way.

An exterior entrance has been constructed along the left side of the plot where the vertical circulation is open to both the studios above and the underground car park. This corridor leads to a pleasant patio at the back and has an inviting character. It provides access to a multifunctional and open space at the rear, which can be used as a studio/office/workspace, and extends over the entire ground floor area.

We ensured careful processing of the volumes in harmony with the area’s heritage and the medieval street ‘Diestsestraat’ following the adjacent ‘blauwputgang’ and the protected gate building.

Kris Loix architect
Vanden Tymple - Diestestraat

An integrated programme in an urban context

Precisely because of this open and transparent zoning, the project creates a bridge to the surrounding greenery, without being a closed buffer!  The ground floor of the block has both a transparent front facade to Diestsestraat and an open rear facade to the inner area.   By doing so, a relationship is created, through the exceptionally bright office space, between the tranquil vegetable garden and the bustling shopping street.  This ‘open plan’ not only reinforces and inspires but also provides the necessary social control over the green semi-public inner area.

With the introduction of an integral enclosure and an integral patio, these building layers can be entered and reached at different levels and a multitude of user scenarios are possible.

All buildings are constructed according to the principle of separation of structure and interior, allowing for adaptability in the future.  This translates into a fully concrete skeleton, with non-load-bearing façades and internal walls.   Levels -1 and ground floor along Diestsestraat, for example, are given excess height and are designed as open platforms so that they can host multiple functions.

On the side along Vanden Tymplestraat, the façade will be finished in line with the existing adjacent buildings, taking into account the number of storeys and cornice heights. The building accommodates 9 spacious flats.

The ground floor also provides access to the underground car park, as well as a ground floor connection to the green enclosed inner area. The scale of the passage (both height and width) is deliberately designed to provide safe access to the underground parking layers on the one hand and a natural and easy connection for soft traffic (pedestrians and cyclists) on the other hand. The location of the passageway at the planned location also provides clear perspectives from the street to the semi-public functions housed in the inner area, including the bicycle storage with space for a possible bicycle repair shop.

The block has an equal number of storeys as the adjacent buildings, i.e. two and three storeys. The cornice heights of the two neighbours are adopted in an architecturally responsible manner. The footpath also has a gradient of 90cm over the entire length of the facade of the project, so that the zero passes of the ground floors vary in connection with the public domain.

The ground floor houses two spacious ground floor residences with spacious and well oriented private gardens situated on the south-west facade. One of the two houses replaces the single-family house currently present on the site and is therefore directly accessible from the public domain. Three apartments are planned on the 1st floor, two of which are sun-drenched and one single-sided oriented on the rear facade with a view of the green inner area. On the 2nd floor, the volume on the side of the two storeys is withdrawn within the gable of 45° from the cornice and three apartments are also provided. The upper apartment is withdrawn also taking into account the gable line of 45° from the cornice.

Vanden Tymple - Diestestraat
Vanden Tymple - Diestestraat
Vanden Tymple - Diestestraat

Connection, in the broadest sense of the word

We opted for a holistic approach that pushes beyond the limits of the parcel and creates added value for the entire environment.  The project helps to further increase the dynamics in both Diestsestraat and Van den Tymplestraat and to anchor them in the Leuven network.

The two above-ground building blocks are connected underground by means of a parking garage and above-ground by means of a car-free semi-public green inner area.

This inner area is the catalyst of the project and acts as a softened and green lung within which many community driven activities can take place, as well as bicycle sheds with a local repair site.  It manifests itself as a quality living space for primarily the users and residents, but also for the wider environment.

It can even be used in the navigability of the urban building block Diestsestraat-Vanden Tymplestraat-Nervierstraat-JP Minckelerstraat. The present design is aimed to ensure that full navigability isn’t jeopardised for the development of adjacent parcels, but is, in fact, facilitated.

The concept contains a strong connecting factor.  It will be a lively space for the neighbourhood that promises increased social interaction between different generations and forms a link in an increased navigability of the building block and its dense surroundings.  The interaction between people and green space is also enhanced by the sustainable and ecological steps taken in this project.

Vanden Tymple - Diestestraat

Share your garden with farmers and neighbours

An urban farm as a connecting factor! The inner area follows the tradition of the Leuven Botanical Garden and is added to the urban fabric as a semi-public space.  In addition to a covered bicycle shed with bicycle workshop, garden areas are provided.  One area will provide space for active vegetable cultivation, another will provide an experience in a picking garden and the remaining space will be used as a picnic or meeting place.

With the short chain and local cultivation of food in mind, we chose to work with a motivated city farmer.  She will cultivate and maintain the gardens and ensure that the total experience will be felt and tasted, with the knowledge that most of the plants you will encounter in the area will be edible…

Vanden Tymple - Diestestraat
Vanden Tymple - Diestestraat

Green at heart

Green at heart.

The strategy to reduce the environmental impact of the project is multifaceted.  This is vested in the areas of programming, social aspects, energy management, total environmental impact and the microclimate.

 

The building materials have been selected based on minimal environmental impact (TOTEM), optimum robustness and low maintenance impact.  The building materials are also processed in such a way that they can easily be separated back into the primary materials in the event of demolition.

All buildings have been erected with a focus on low energy requirements and optimal user comfort.  All entities comply with the BEN (Nearly Energy Neutral) standard set forth by the Flemish Energy Agency.  In addition, in the elaboration of the architecture much attention has been paid to passive measures in order to obtain an optimal indoor climate.  For example, we worked intensively on ample daylight and on limiting the solar load, so that summer comfort is guaranteed without drastic measures.

By drastically reducing uncultivated surfaces on the site and the additional use of green roofs, this project contributes extensively to the reduction of heat capture in the city.

Based on a biodiversity study of, for instance, the park of the Zusters and its immediate surroundings, an ecologist worked out the details of the plant species and vegetation types in the park.  The aim is to expand the inner-city green network and increase urban biodiversity.  Attention is paid not only to plant and soil species, but also to water management, which is actively used to increase biodiversity, in the form of surface infiltration bowls. To this end, zones have been strategically removed from the car park so that rainwater can feed back into the groundwater layers.

An initial rainwater supply will be constructed for reuse (toilet flushing) and a second rainwater supply will be used for the maintenance of the green inner area.  The overflow of both rainwater tanks, with a total storage capacity of +/- 100m³, drains into the groundwater via a 22m³ infiltration facility.

All these measures also ensure that the development has a good climate resilience.   The greening of the site, the attention paid to the reduction of solar loads and the low energy demand have prepared the development for the climate challenges of the near future.

 

EN COURS Vanden Tymple - Diestestraat

Encouraging soft mobility

Due to its urban location and the immediate proximity of the station, the location is also ideally suited to gentle mobility.  In addition to the already mentioned spacious, covered bicycle shed with bicycle repair space, facilities will be included for car sharing and electric charging points will be provided.  If the underground car park should become underused in the future, there is the possibility of reprogramming it.

Finally, there will be parking with two underground levels accessible from the Vanden Tymplestraat, in which the entire parking needs of the own programme will be covered, as well as the +/- 70 parking spaces/garage boxes present on the site today. The car park will have a capacity of 132 spaces, and will be used exclusively as a destination car park.

 

more information about find the Tymple Greens project here

Vanden Tymple - Diestestraat

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