transformation of a formerly vacant residual space into a mixed-use residential project

Kammenstraat / Oudaan

Surface area
2004 Monumenten- en Welstandsprijs
Filip Dujardin
Stijn Bollaert
Toon Grobet
"We feel right at home in such a problematic, time-worn area."

The city sold an orphaned plot on the corner of Oudaan and Kammenstraat to a real estate developer. The design for the apartment building with shops alleviates the discrepancy in scale between the medieval city and the modernist heritage. The location dictates the design. The building seeks to attain harmony with its neighbours. The spiral movement of the helix arose from that logical train of thought. Departing from the narrow, medieval Kammenstraat, the facade bends towards the stately townhouses on Oudaan, finally reaching towards the imposing Police Tower. The cornice rises gradually, culminating in a sharp roof volume. All the facades present themselves as if they were the front. The building has no back.

The facades are clad in lead panels. This unconventional choice reflects the ambition to make the building stand out, while at the same time enabling its surroundings to absorb it. On the one hand, lead is a traditional building material that was used for such things as the roof tiles on the nearby baroque Church of St Augustine. On the other hand, it is a unique, almost iconic facade material. Lead looks different every time, depending on the angle and the weather conditions. Sometimes it looks dark and dull; at other moments, it glimmers in the sunlight.

The building’s ground floor has a space that can be subdivided for retail purposes. Above, thirteen apartments unfold around a core with a lift and staircase, suffused with natural light thanks to the large windows at the top of the building. The changing facades of the helix bring a playful dynamic and intense living experience to the layout of the apartments.