34 service flats + multi-purpose spaces / 13 apartments / 1 restaurant
The project is located in Oswald Ponettestraat in Ronse town centre, within the grounds of the listed “Woning Van Grootenbruel” (Van Grootenbruel House), a historical town villa. The dwelling is a landmark in the townscape, along with the other town villas situated in this street, such as Villa Demeestere across the street and Villa Ferrant further down the lane. Part of the project is listed.
The site encompasses a number of diversified areas, which each have their own characteristic identity, constituting a great opportunity to project the small-scale quality of the walkable town onto the spacious area bound by the perimeters of the site as a whole. Having emanated from a townhouse, with its own town garden and in relation to an enclosed landscape vestige within the town, the project preserves the various key aspects that came into being over time, grabs them, reinforces them and ties them together.
The project also interlaces the heritage with the town, setting out from the concept whereby the developments already in place are extended within the history of the site. The project continues the line of history without aborting it and embeds it as part of the monument’s future. The project is aimed at supporting the monument as a whole and does not confine itself to the relevant area demarcated by decree. The juxtaposition with the landscape parts situated rearwards is kept in place by way of distinct conceptual axes cutting through the development.
Each square or patio has its own story to tell within the wider context of the site. The newly embedded buildings engage in dialogue with the monument, thereby acting in support of this interweaving. The town is pulled into the site in the guise of an urban square. The urban elements weave their way through the site until the original organic structure regains the upper hand.
Piercings are created that tie the open spaces together and create a field of tension between open and closed.
Cornerstones of the concept that make up the foundation of the architectural design
The site is largely developed within the framework of the Residential Care Decree (appendix 16 service flats) in combination with apartments. This acts to produce an aggregate of dwelling units for a mixed audience (senior citizens, families, etc.).
The concept for the site is based around various cornerstones:
- Preservation of the listed site as an “îlot”:
The architectural specificity of the site is visually dominant and is very much a local landmark. The impact of the town villa on the street scene and the garden walls is of great importance, both from a planning and from a heritage perspective. This acts to preserve the secluded nature of the site as one of its key characteristics. The existing garden walls are optimised in their original context. In embedding new volumes, due care is also taken to make sure the volumes are not visually overly dominant in relation to the listed dwelling.
- Restoration of the historical garden from 1928 after a design by H. Fonteyne. This garden area will serve as an outdoor space for the dwelling’s F&B function. Doing so sees the garden take on a semi-private nature.
- The main entrance of the new functions is situated in the left part of the site, via the historical access gate between the dwelling and the garages. This acts to make the project wholly accessible to the disabled whilst keeping the entrance to the dwelling clear (which has stairs). To render this access gate visible and to ensure spatial comfort, this entrance is glazed with a light glass and steel structure. We have gone with a pure, light and restrained structure to enable the dwelling to stand out in its own right and to highlight its architectural qualities.
- Embedment of different volumes in order to create clearly distinct ambiences at the site
- The site offers limited access to motorised traffic. To serve local traffic, we have also chosen to use electric means of transport. We have put in place paved surfaces for the fire service, the emergency services, and electric vehicles which is kept green and permeable in various locations. We are also planning charging posts for electric cars.