PROCEEDINGS OF ONE-DAY SEMINAR - The energy future of existing buildings in Brussels: between preservation and performance - 11/12/14 - (Page 86)

ONLINE BRUSSELS HERITAGE - ONE-DAY SEMINAR - 11/12/2014 THE BRUNFAUT TOWER PRESENTATION OF THE CONCEPTUAL DESIGN CHALLENGES OF A RENOVATION VINCENT DEGRUNE ARCHITECT/ENGINEER, MUNICIPALITY OF MOLENBEEK-SAINT-JEAN THIS CASE STUDY RAISES THE QUESTION OF THE FUTURE OF TOWER BLOCKS, THE HERITAGE VALUE OF WHICH IS, AT FIRST GLANCE, NOT IMMEDIATELY EVIDENT. MANY EXAMPLES OF SUCH CURRENTLY UNFASHIONABLE BUILDINGS ARE TODAY THREATENED WITH DEMOLITION, AND NOT JUST IN BRUSSELS. FACED WITH THIS POSSIBILITY, THE MUNICIPALITY OF MOLENBEEK-SAINT-JEAN COMMISSIONED THE PARISIAN ARCHITECTURAL FIRM LACATON-VASSAL & DRUOT TO CONDUCT A CONCEPTUAL DESIGN STUDY TO ASSESS THE IMPACT AND FEASIBILITY OF VARIOUS RENOVATION OPTIONS. I have been fascinated by this project to renovate the Brunfaut tower (fig. 1) and the issues raised by the project for more than four years. However, the work has yielded more questions than answers, which is probably a very good thing. My presentation is not overly technical but rather aims to extend the notion of heritage to culture, and that of energy performance to sustainability. The Brunfaut tower was not lucky enough to have been designed by a famous architect; it was little known architect, J. Roggen and his consulting engineer, M. Van Wetter, who designed the building. The absence of such renown has probably contributed to the critical, even malicious, way in which the structure is viewed today. It is referred to as the kartonenblok or "cardboard box" in the neighbourhood. The building is thus perceived as a symbol of an era when people were punished by being piled on top of each other in office buildings. We have tried to immerse ourselves in the context in which it was built, which is important when talking about heritage. The Brunfaut tower was built in 1966. At that time, the ideal of modernity had to some degree arrived in Belgium (and in Brussels in particular), but some twenty or thirty years behind the United States and France. These countries had been building based on the Corbusian model since the end of the war, with the strong, simple idea that high-rise construction would provide a solution both to urban sprawl and the preservation of ground space. Today, the issue of tower blocks has arisen again, but it seems that we are no longer concerned about the second notion, even though the two are inextricably linked. The 1960s were also a period of great enthusiasm with regard to mobility. For example, the Leopold II 86 | The Brunfaut tower. Presentation of the conceptual design challenges of a renovation. viaduct was built to link the Expo '58 site to the city centre (fig. 2). This structure was subsequently dismantled and rebuilt in Bangkok, where it has recently been renovated. This pretty amazing example of reuse took a completely ground-breaking approach to recycling. A newspaper article from 9th October 1966 was very useful in helping us to understand the extremely innovative and ambitious nature of the tower, not only from a technical but also a social perspective, as its construction was aimed at effectively addressing problems with hygiene in this "inner suburb" of Brussels. The construction process was also described in the article. It can be seen that the building was completed in less than eight months, with an extraordinarily sparing use of resources and materials. Today, a culture of performance predominates, whereas fifty years ago it was a culture of efficiency that

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PROCEEDINGS OF ONE-DAY SEMINAR - The energy future of existing buildings in Brussels: between preservation and performance - 11/12/14

Contents
EDITORIAL
A WORD OF WELCOME
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ENERGY PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS WHEN RENOVATING?
ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE AND ENERGY PERFORMANCE: COMPATIBILITY CHALLENGES?
URBAN FORMS, TYPOLOGY AND IMPROVING THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF OLD BRUSSELS BUILDINGS
THE LISTED HOUSES OF THE LE LOGIS AND FLORÉAL GARDEN CITIES ADAPTATIONS TO CURRENT ENERGY AND COMFORT NEEDS
FINANCIAL IMPACT OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY MEASURES IN LE LOGIS AND FLORÉAL
ANALYSIS OF UNCERTAINTIES IN DYNAMIC THERMAL SIMULATIONS FOR OLD HOUSING: A CASE STUDY OF ONE APPARTMENT AND ONE HOUSE IN THE PARIS REGION
RISK ANALYSIS FOR APPLYING INTERIOR INSULATION IN HISTORICAL BUILDINGS: A CASE STUDY OF THE FORMER VETERINARY SCHOOL IN ANDERLECHT
IEDER ZIJN HUIS: THE RENOVATION OF A MODERNIST SOCIAL HOUSING TOWER BLOCK
HE BRUNFAUT TOWER: PRESENTATION OF THE CONCEPTUAL DESIGN CHALLENGES OF A RENOVATION
PRESENTATION AND RESULTS OF THE “PLAGE” PROJECTS LOCAL ACTION PLANS FOR ENERGY MANAGEMENT
THE BELGIAN BUILDING RESEARCH INSTITUTE: A CONTRIBUTION TO HERITAGE MAINTENANCE EXPLORING THE TRAINING OF HERITAGE ADVISORS SPECIALISING IN ENERGY
SUSTAINABLE RENOVATION OF A BRUSSELS HOUSE: A CHALLENGE FOR BUILDING TRADESMEN
CONCLUSION
COLOPHON

PROCEEDINGS OF ONE-DAY SEMINAR - The energy future of existing buildings in Brussels: between preservation and performance - 11/12/14

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