The Duke

Renovation protected office building

Archi­tecture Interior design

New ways of working - NWOW City life Reconversion and renovation

The new office building is located in the Hertogstraat, which, like the Koningstraat and the Wetstraat, form one of the main axes of the Brussels Warande district. It is an urban ensemble in classicist style, which was laid out according to a design of 1776 by the architect Barnabé Guimard. The whole is protected as architectural heritage.

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The old office consisted of a 5-storey rear building in the garden and a 3-storey front building. These were completely demolished with the exception of the front facade. The new office building was given the same footprint as the existing one. In order to better match the current urban fabric, the rear building of the new office building was reduced to 3 storeys and the front building was raised to 5 storeys. These front and rear buildings are connected by a corridor, creating a patio.

The facade has been preserved and has been completely restored in close consultation with the Onroerend Erfgoed Agency and the city of Brussels.

A contemporary volume has been placed on top of the three storeys and is visible above the classical facade. This volume is sober, as well as finely detailed and maintains the necessary distance from the building of the French embassy. In the original facade, a bay, where there was a window, was transformed into a gate with access to the underground garage.

The use of materials was attuned to the existing materials in the streetscape. All patio facades are covered with a beige composite natural stone. The graphic pattern of the joints in the stone refers to the profile of the columns of the original Classicist facade. Only the front facade on the street side was made of dark composite natural stone. This color difference creates a contrast with the classicist facade.

The curved windows are also a revival of the 18th century design language that feels grand. The storey heights of the original building have been preserved, so that the ground floor feels public and the representative, high rooms are located on the 2nd floor.

The client, a real estate developer, was prompted by its tenant: the Flemish Government to follow the sustainability meter. The space layout and the interior for the Flemish Justice House was designed by VIVA Architecture according to the principles of NWOW (New ways of working) and was given different types of workplaces. Composite natural stone, the material used for the facades, was also used in the interior for the floor finish, supplemented with wood for the furniture. This makes the spaces visually more spacious and that unity contributes to a calm appearance. The large windows allow in plenty of daylight, which increases working comfort.

Location : Rue Ducale, Brussels
Area : 2.300 m²
Date : 2016 - 2022
Client : Life Tree Estate
Team : FI Engineering, 3S, Brouae, Dwek

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