Hôtel Particulier

Feasibility study that concludes in the realization of a apart-hotel. A light, elusive volume is being placed on top of a restored, historic Hôtel Particulier, taking into account a monument and a very tall blind wall as neighbors.

Brussel, 2017 - ..., professional client, i.c.w. Origin Architecture and Engineering

Dwarfs in-between giants. The ring road at the site is being defined by large blocks wrapped in repetitive fields of precast concrete. Now and then one can find the image of the ring road a century earlier: a true avenue with noble mansion and ‘Hôtels Particuliers’, ornamented houses with balconies, dormers and carriage passages. Once so stately, the houses find themselves lost, surrounded by tall blind facades belonging to younger neighbors, raced by endless streams of cars.

Three houses in a row, the middle one is a (protected) monument, the other are keeping the tall blind facades at a distance. The client wishes to develop a hotel: two houses work together as a luxurious historic hotel, the third house will function as a apart-hotel: a specific typology in which apartments and studios are being created that can also use all of the facilities and services of the neighboring hotel. For the third house the study commences.

The study starts with a feasibility-research in which two extreme scenarios are being explored: an complete restoration of the historic house without add-ons and complete demolition making place for a new building. Both end up with interesting results, but don’t seem to fully satisfy expectations. The restoration has a too small capacity to ensure profitability, the new building suggest demolition, the building is not protected, but a lot of historic elements has thus far been preserved, so demolition should not been taken lightly.

The design results in a extension of the restored building. Not behind it, because then the building depth gets to large, causing all kinds of problems, so on top of it. An unique opportunity to mediate the gigantic blind facade to the monument. The volume anchors itself to its environment. It steps back in two directions to give some air to breath to the street, to the building underneath and to the monument. The retraction is so large that there are even windows allowed in the side of the building: no longer a blind façade.

The volume has a double skin. The first skin made out of perforated steel panels, kind of shimmering in white and gold, let the building glimmer. The order of this skin follows the historic lines of the underlying building. In that way, it mediates the frivolity of the spaces behind to the street. In the openings there’s always windows, sometimes a bit deeper because there’s terraces in front of them. The second skin is more pragmatic. It takes its openings where it needs it.

Behind there two stacked volume, there’s another volume: a pavilion in-between two gardens. On top of the pavilion is small square. It’s a co-working space for expats and users of the hotel. Patio’s enter daylight in the underground level, just like before.

A restoration and two pavilions. The volumes inscribe themselves, acknowledging the situation they reach beyond themselves and moderate between monument and blind façade, between program and architecture. A new glimmering age for a piece of historic urban fabric.

Ney en Partners (structure)
Sweco (technical installations)
2BSafe (energy and safety consultant)

Three houses - three hats  

bridge between monument and giant  

interior closed  

interior open  

interior daytime  

interior nighttime  

interior penthouse  

interior penthouse  

interior entrance  

tactical setup  

volume top up  

volume top up  

volume top up  

new building - not chosen