Construction of a mixed-use housing and office building boulevard de l’Empereur in Brussels.
Work on EMPEREUR concentrates on the impact of built and un-built volumes upon its context, leading to the first obvious option not to occupy the entire terrain (as does the existing 1950s office block promised to demolition) but instead step back, re-aligning with the back-side of the left-hand neighbor. This allows the development of a bona fide 3-facade end-piece, articulating 19th-century buildings and medieval vestiges : each step is therefore carefully thought through.
A neutral white ensemble serving as " fond-de-scène " for the medieval Tour is imagined, characterized by a rhythmic un-identical series of steps back, on all three sides, molding and qualifying as such the open spaces crystallizing between the new building and the Tour. Built and un-built volumes fold and un-fold, morphe, taking their cue from immediate context as well as from the ergonomics of the resulting interiors and terraces.
The outcome brings added value to the small planted garden next to the project on which the Tour once forlornly stood, with fresh and inviting perspectives to and from the vestiges, and secure and convivial public/semi-public space where passer-by’s can stop and admire them. A concrete serpentine serves as a welcoming bench, winding its way right up to the last fragment of medieval arch upheld.