MEXICO

The program consists in the construction of 3 social dwellings and an urban public "pocket" park. An existing tree took place on the site. Instead of cutting down the tree and enclosing the urban block as the competition brief suggests, the project deals with the tree as an opportunity to open the park and the urban block on the street.

The project takes place in a dense neighborhood with a lack of green spaces in the center of Brussels. The program consists in the construction of three social dwellings and an urban public "pocket" park. On an abandoned empty plot, an existing tree grew with time. Instead of removing the existing tree and enclosing the urban block (as the classical figure), the project maintains the tree and encompass it as a fundamental element of the park. The new building has a minimal footprint to offer a maximum surface for the park. By this implantation, on the side of the plot, the building offers a high-quality living by the three sides facades . The small, compact building hosts three social units. A duplex typology is used for the four room units to reduce the footprint. The monolithic brick aspect of the building contrasts with the presence of the tree to enforce the dialogue with each other.

The strategy of the project consists to deal with the existing situation as an opportunity. Instead of removing the existing tree and enclosing the urban block as the competition brief suggests, the project maintains it
The minimal footprint of the new building maximizes the surface for the green space. The facade width inserts the project in the typical rhythm of the house in a row. Through this strategy of maintaining the « as-found » the tree becomes a positive signal for the street even when the park is closed. As a result, the banal image of the street is interrupted by the open space that this public garden offers. This consciously devised exterior not only gives a valuable green space to the city, but also allows for a long facade in which to organise pleasant apartment interiors improving living conditions with the qualities of an adjacent park.
The building contains tree social apartments. On the ground-floor an apartment for person with reduced mobility have a private garden. On the upper levels, two apartments with four rooms with a duplex typology.

The structure is efficient and economical thanks to the compact and small size of the building. A prefabricated concrete structure is used to reduce the construction deadlines.
The three side building offers beautiful views on the tree and optimal sun despite the urban density.
The organisation of the duplex is obvious. One level hosts all the rooms and sanitary facilities and the other the living rooms. The living space level is an almost empty plateau that runs on the three sides. The apartments have two orientations generous loggias. The kitchen is in relation to the living places. Along the common wall, the circulation and the facilities.
The project has a strong and robust materiality by the Flemish bond brickwork with thick joints. This materiality inserts the project in the existing typical house in a row in brick. The monolithic aspect of the building contrasts with the presence of the tree to enforce the dialogue with each other. The perimeter is defined by a thick brick wall. The project has received the passive label.