Le Toison d’Or by Ben van Berkel / UNStudio
UNStudio recently completed their first project in Belgium: Le Toison d’Or. The building, which is constructed in Brussels in partnership with Belgian studio Jaspers-Eyers, is a block construction for mixed residential and commercial use. Take a look at the complete story after the jump.
Designed for ProWinko and in collaboration with Belgian architects Jaspers-Eyers, Le Toison d’Or is a hybridisation of a traditional building-block typology and a mixed-use development with a retail podium.
Located on the Avenue de la Toison d’Or between two historical gates (the Porte Louise and the Port de Namur), the mixed-use complex integrates into the urban fabric of its surroundings, whilst simultaneously merging a retail and residential programme.
Le Toison d’Or contains 72 apartments (from 50 to 750 m2), 13,000 m2 of commercial space, a 1040 m2 crèche, 330 parking spaces and an elevated city garden of 2,950 m2.
In order to avoid the monolithic qualities common to block structures, the façade of Le Toison d’Or is broken up by means of variations in texture, depth and the repeating rhythm of a series of curved vertical frames. These frames serve to enclose the balconies of the apartments on the upper floors, whilst also facilitating the large display windows of the retail units.
Ben van Berkel: “It was important that the retail units be as open and light and possible. We wanted to contrast this with the apparent solidity of the upper floors, to create the illusion that the vertical balloon-like frames were carrying the building; as if the whole block almost has the potential float above the avenue.”
Ben van Berkel: “In architecture we tend to favour abstraction and to avoid figuration. But on the street facade of the Toison d’Or building we wanted to investigate the space between the abstract and the figurative, to create moments of tacit allusion to the pictorial.”
In contrast to the vertical articulation of the street facade, the facades surrounding the elevated courtyard garden follow a horizontal arrangement. Here generously proportioned balconies provide a more tranquil experience of city life.
To access the apartments visitors and residents enter the building from the street side, where a large sculptural staircase leads them up to the main reception lobby, which is located towards the rear and elevated above the two retail levels. From here they can continue to further lobby areas furnished with informal seating, where the elevators to the apartments are also located.
Photos by ©Hufton+Crow / ©Eva Bloem
Le Toison d’Or – Building Information
Client: TD Immo Invest BVBA, Brussels
Location: Avenue de la Toison d’Or 25-29, Brussels
Building surface: 48000 m2
Building volume: 87000 m3 (above ground), 110.000 m3 (underground); total 197.000 m3
Building site: 5800 m2
Programme: Retail, apartments and underground parking
UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Gerard Loozekoot with Wesley Lanckriet, Jacques van Wijk and Hans Kooij, Tina Kortmann, Tatjana Gorbachewskaja, Philipp Meise, Jaap-Willem Kleijwegt, Marie Prunault, Tomas Mokry, Nanang Santoso, Olivier Yebra, Thomas Harms, Rene Wysk, Todd Ebeltoft, Patrick Noome, Charlotte Guyaux, Johanna Mencia, Machiel Wafelbakker, Bartek Winnicki, Aurelie Krotoff, Ondrei Kyjanek, Wendy van der Knijff
Belgian architect: Jaspers-Eyers Architects, Brussels (BE)
Local project leader
realisation phase: Wesley Lanckriet, U/Define Architects
Structural Engineer: ABCIS Van Wetter S.A., Brussels (BE)
Landscape architect: Lodewijk Baljon landschapsarchitecten, Amsterdam (NL)
Atelier Ruimtelijk Advies, Berchem (BE)
Installations: Techniplan adviseurs, Rotterdam (NL)
TDEC, Rumst (BE)
and sustainability: DGMR, Arnhem (NL)
Cost calculation: BBN adviseurs, Houten (NL)
Widnell Europe, Brussels (BE)
Fire Safety: FPC Fire Protection Consultants, Antwerpen (BE)
Quality Control: SECO, Brussels (BE)
Main contractor: CFE NV – BPC Brabant, Watermaal-Bosvoorde (BE)