BAU / Flora House

 

If you talk about environmental building and sustainability, the biggest failure of a building is to be taken down. A large part of our aim as architects is to stop this endless new building trend.

A building generates about half of its carbon footprint during construction, Circular construction techniques, which involve working with existing structures, using recycled and upcycled materials, and to choosing wood over concrete are the preferred strategies when it comes to sustainable building.
This approach fits another aspect of the EU’s building push: to renovate the region’s mostly old building stock. At the moment, about three-quarters of Europe’s buildings are energy-inefficient; of those, only a small number each year are brought up to current energy standards.
Flora House can be an example of how to do this. The project reinterprets a typical single-family house in Brussels, and thus has been transformed to house three families. Private areas are smaller, and there’s a whole new space for communal activities such as urban farming.
This is an opportunity to readdress the issue of heritage vs. the contemporary and show that the old and the new can be in dialogue.
Moreover, the proposal integrates a series of active strategies such as:
1 / Wind turbines on top of the greenhouse generate power. Solar panels both create energy and provide shade for the garden.
2 / A water collection system across the greenhouses captures moisture and filters it for drinking, irrigation, and feeding the pool on the first level. In a rainy city such as Brussels, water constantly trickling down the pipes can also generate power.
3 / Fruit trees and other vegetation provide food, and shade in hot summer months. In winter, as leaves fall, they allow sunlight to reach the roof and warm the building. A hencoop generates food for the inhabitants and fertilizer for the garden.
In essence, the project looks into chaning the paradigm of our interests and introduce biodiversity in our buildings so we can reknit together the continuum of plants and fauna.