The Organization for Permanent Modernity is an office and research group for urban design and architecture.

Revalorization of the Van Oost site in Schaerbeek, Belgium


Revalorization of the Van Oost site in Schaerbeek, Belgium


The city of Schaerbeek requested a comprehensive study for the construction of two schools (nursery and primary education, for the Flemish speaking and French speaking community in Brussels) including caretaker residences and a shared gym. The schools are located in the inner region of a densely populated district in Schaerbeek, with two sides open to the street. Each new building had to meet the passive house standard.
The proposal orients all programs to face the street and the inner area is cleared of all existing industrial buildings, in order to make room for playgrounds and reintroduce some air to the building block. The play areas and buildings blend seamlessly into one another, creating a light, airy plan while at the same time accommodating heavy programmatic requirements.
The outdoor areas, both under, on top and in between the buildings, maximize the use of existing topographic differences and basement levels. These areas are interconnected with interesting views, dimensional diversity, and the possibility for double use. The school’s corridors are externalized to achieve optimal daylight in the classrooms. The institutional quality known as "school" is not a massive block but becomes a series of pavilions, each with a scale that fits the grain of this part of Schaerbeek. The pavilion logic also contributes greatly to the diversity of outdoor spaces: a village in the city, as if it were a conversation between different volumes.
A simple, unambiguous façade system was designed, where the windows are positioned to be at once logical - dictated by orientation and position of the sun needed for passive construction; and two playful - tailored to the users. The various functions and pavilions have the same architectural language, so as not to stress their differences, but rather highlight the interaction of communities and cultures within a singular project.
TEAM: ORG (architecture and urbanism), Groep Van Roey (development), VK (structural), Daidalos (accoustics)

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