Archi 2000 architectural firm started working with Duco Ventilation & Sun Control in the August of 2013 to repurpose the former DVV insurance head office in Brussels that was given the name 'Livingstone'. Archi 2000 purposefully chose sustainable and architectural options and consequently turned to Duco as their partner for the project.
Livingstone - Brussels
And the result? An amazing building and inspirational example for numerous other renovation projects. The construction of Livingstone is now complete. So it's a perfect time to reflect on Duco's contribution to the largest Brussels conversion project of its kind.
The Livingstone renovation project fit in with the ambition to convert the surplus office space into functional living spaces. Archi 2000 made a conscious choice to retain the distinctive horizontal character in the façade of the former DVV head office for the most part, whilst still dividing the complex into two parts. Around 17,000 m2 of this - including terraces - now functions as housing grouped into four residential blocks. This section houses not only a pub, a supermarket and a post-office, but also 122 apartments. In short, the perfect place to live for anyone who likes to have all amenities close at hand.
Architectural solar shading
"The challenge posed by the renovation lay in converting the corporate rigidity of an office environment into an open and pleasant living environment in a sustainable and functional manner without losing sight of aesthetics. Furthermore it is important that it is a pleasant place to be in winter and especially in summer", says the architectural firm.
Archi 2000 and Duco joined forces so that they could take the renovation project to the next level. "In the highest living block they opted to implement Duco's architectural sun shade rather than using cement-bonded fibreboard in between the white sections. This means that attention has been paid not only to providing a comfortable indoor climate, it also gives a unique touch to the rest of the building", says Archi 2000. When using outdoor solar shading, it is however important to find the optimum balance between sufficient daylight, maintaining the view to outside and providing efficient protection from the sun's rays so that the inside can still be kept cool in hot summer months.
DucoSlide Wood: perfect interplay between wood and aluminium
In discussion with Archi 2000 the decision to have the DucoSlide Wood with mobile wooden blades in an aluminium frame was made quickly. "Part of what dictated this choice for us was the added aesthetic value it gives to the façade thanks to the way the blades are fixed invisibly within the frame. This gives the wood room to expand and so there is no chance of it warping", clarifies the architectural firm. "In combination with the sustainable and resilient Western Red Cedar wood, the light-weight and narrow panel width of the DucoSlide Wood this completes the picture. The narrow width of the sliding panels was in fact necessary for this renovation project so that two panels could be positioned behind each other. This gives the façade a certain dynamic that brings the building to life."
DucoSun Ellips 150 as aesthetic terrace cover
The elliptical louvre blades on the DucoSun Ellips 150 that are incorporated in the construction as a terrace cover, fulfil both a functional and an aesthetic role. "This type of solar shading system with its elegantly shaped blades, minimalist fixings, simple fitting system and the way that the shade tapers at off at the end with the inclination angle of the blades, fits seamlessly into Livingstone's architectural concept", states Archi 2000. "In addition the light grey of the DucoSun Ellips 150 reflects the light perfectly so that the blades blend in beautifully with the sky."
Maximum comfort and daylight, minimum energy loss
As well as preserving daylight, both solar shading systems ensure, in an energy-saving and natural way, that the sun's rays don't get the chance to heat up the interior of Livingstone's highest housing block. Now that the renovation works have been completed, the building offers all mod cons whilst being extremely energy-efficient, with K and E values of 30 and 70 respectively.
All in all, it is therefore no surprise that Livingstone was selected as the winner of the competition "Converting empty office buildings into housing" for the Brussel's Capital Region. An accomplishment that, as their partner on this project, Duco can also be justifiably proud of!