The story behind Redevelop Belgium


While much attention is paid to the revival of cultural or industrial heritage, little focus is put to the re-use of the rapidly aging residential structures from the mid-twentieth century. These structures were built with the goal of quick and cheap construction in a time of acute housing shortage and strong economic constraints. While they fulfilled their purpose at the time, most of them have reached a stage where decay is visible and their poor isolation and construction detailing adversely affects the present energy consumption and the country’s urban landscape. Our cities now lack imaginability due to monotonous construction of the era bygone.

However, demolition is not the only answer to this problem. Although in some cases it is economically profitable and necessary, it leaves a larger carbon footprint and is often avoidable with proper renovation and upgrade. Architecture is meant to be adaptable, to undergo change as we evolve, not to be disposed off when it doesn’t satisfy the needs of the present. Instead, these old buildings, if redeveloped, could act as a link between the past and the future.

Besides enhancing the appearance, redeveloping residences up to date can increase comfort, provide better security and offer a healthier, more efficient living environment. It also offers monetary benefits like increase in the building value as well as less maintenance and utility costs.

Since we come at a time when the physical degradation of these buildings is evident and requires methodological interventions, we work to create a general framework that integrates them with the surrounding urban landscape and helps them fit our contemporary standards and needs. With new building regulations being proposed by the European commission in the following years, we are required to optimize our structures with a final goal of zero waste houses.

While the redefinition of these structures is very kaleidoscopic, changing every time you try to put it into words, our online platform tries to understand it in simpler terms rather than confining it to a definition.

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The platform takes a look at the redevelopment from all angles, breaking it down to four different scenarios: installations, shell, densification and integration. Additionally, all these processes are further explained with the help real projects and described in depth through various articles.

Redevelop Belgium acts as a much-needed insight into this complicated renovation process of a residential complex where often too many associations of co-owners and lack of external guidance, prevent it from being coherent with the context. We are a toolbox that aids the decision-making process, by providing information about energy efficiency, safety, detailing and urban regulations, all critical for the positive outcome of a redevelopment project.

Through comparison of various renovation techniques that could answer to these new building norms, Redevelop wishes to promote the more efficient methods of renovation over some of the cheaper and faster options that don’t generate a greater value in the long run. Our goal is to  generate more attention for a global framework for these renewals, which would ultimately create adaptable structures that overcome the shortcomings of the past and add value for our future generations.

Noemi Chausidis