’t Wisselspoor is a lively location in the middle of a former railway siding and workshop complex belonging to the Belgian railways. In the context of the redevelopment of this industrial area, HCVA designed a child- and family-friendly apartment building, an ‘infill’ that complements the surrounding open spaces: a long narrow park (Treinpark) and two squares to the south of the site, one urban (Blauwputplein) the other (Werfplein) more intimate.
The programme is organized as a U-shaped building that is wholly oriented towards the south, which serves to optically enlarge Werfplein while also ensuring that the family apartments get plenty of sun. The building’s base contains a conservatory facing Blauwputplein and a child care centre grouped around a central courtyard on Werfplein. The maisonette apartments can be accessed via spacious entrance lobbies that lead to open galleries on alternate floors on the courtyard side of the building. The generous width of these walkways provides extra outdoor space for the adjacent dwellings while also promoting neighbourly contact.
There is a diversity of 2, 3 and 4 room apartments, with the maisonettes around the courtyard being designed specifically for young families. The apartments are provided with such everyday conveniences as decentralized storage areas, a spacious hall, a light-filled family room and functional washing facilities. Every apartment on the outer side of the building has a bay window, which becomes part of the dwelling when the windows are closed.
AG Stadsontwikkeling Leuven