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Name: Ernest the Garden & Ernest the Park
Location: Brussels, Belgium
The project concerns the redevelopment of the former office buildings of Solvay in Brussels into two mixed real estate projects: Ernest the Garden and Ernest the Park. Real estate developers BPI and Immobel transformed the buildings into a mixed real estate project with apartments, student housing, a hotel, shops, a nursing home and a kinder garden. As the former site was spread over two locations, the redevelopment was divided into two phases. In 2014, the site at Rue du Prince Albert 33 was redeveloped into Ernest the Garden, a mixed real estate project consisting of a nursing home (5.200 m²), student housing (2.500 m²) and apartments (9.000m²). The aim of the developers was to preserve as much of the existing building as possible. For example, the monumental entrance hall and some of the walls were preserved. In 2017 the redevelopment of the site located at Rue du Prince Albert 44 started. We kept the existing facades to preserve the historic character of the building. A hotel (4.000 m²), apartments (21.000 m²) and commercial spaces (500 m²) were newly constructed.
While the existing site was completely closed, the developers decided to open up the area by creating a courtyard garden. This did not only allow the inhabitants and neighbours to enjoy a green area where there wasn’t one before, but it also created much more light for the flats. A particular aspect of the project was the temporary occupation by artist Denis Meyers of the buildings at Rue du Prince Albert 33 before its demolition. A collaborative patronage that has enabled the artist to create the largest graphic fresco ever exhibited (25,000 m2) and the urban promoters to give a new face to an entire district. An original way of transforming a canker into a creative and welcoming space.
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