AG VESPA Gravinstraat-Gijselsstraat
This residential project consists of a mix of different housing types, an underground parking garage and a communal courtyard. It was realized on a plot in the middle of an incomplete building block near the Turnhoutse Poort in Borgerhout (Antwerp).
The design starts with the question of how the collective character of the outdoor space can be stimulated as a place for casual encounters. The communal garden therefore plays a crucial role in the internal circulation. It is the node between the public domain, the communal areas and the private outdoor and indoor spaces.
Via an underpass, the garden is directly accessible to the residents from the street. A large canopy serves as a bicycle shed, but can also be used for communal activities. The underground parking garage is also accessible from here by two outside stairs shielded by the canopy.
All the residential units have a private terrace that overlooks the garden and is directly accessible from there. The apartments are therefore not only accessible via an elevator, but also via an external staircase that is located between the terraces and opens into the garden.
The 6 apartments are organized without distinction between front and back. The living rooms and bedrooms located on the outer facades are separated from each other by the ancillary spaces that are concentrated in the middle of the building. The functions of the rooms are interchangeable. Within the boundaries of a housing unit, there are no load-bearing walls and the structure is formed by beams and columns that give the necessary freedom for the (re)design in the short and long term.
The 4 houses have an extremely simple plan and are structurally composed of 7 or 8 identical rooms which, depending on their function, are given a permanent or flexible infill with non-load-bearing elements.
The appearance of the buildings is inspired by a number of anonymous and similar residential buildings in the immediate vicinity of the project. Houses with a stone plinth, a lightly tinted facade and an emphatic cornice.