MODELWIJK BRUSSEL

The “Modelwijk” project includes the layout of a master plan and the renovation of a social housing community of about a thousand homes for the Foyer Laekenois and BGHM. The competition brief was to develop a vision for the phased revaluation of the Modelwijk district Heysel, spread over more than a decade. A committee of architects and consultants ranging from engineers to landscape architects was appointed to oversee the project (Daidalos, KUL and Wessel de Jonge architecten bna).

Extensive consultation – inquiring after the expectations of local residents and privileged witnesses – was done before the team started working out the design. Updating the existing housing infrastructure to current technical requirements and plan normalization was spilt up in several phases. The first phase consisted of upgrading the buildings dating back to 1972. In a later phase, the more architecturally valuable buildings from 1958 will be taken under re-construction.

A secondary, but nonetheless vital, requirement for this large scale upgrade at Modelwijk, was activating partially existing small-scale public functions and introducing additional ones such as offices, restaurants, cultural buildings, children’s day care centres and sport facilities. The main focus of this project is to re-establish a coherent overall identity, as originally intended by the six-member modernist architect college. The ‘original six’ consisted – among others – of renowned architect and urbanist Renaat Braem (1910-2001), active in the Heysel district from 1958 to 1972. Completing this extensive, long-term renovation will be revamping Modelwijk’s surroundings by introducing original, basic elements from the modernist era.