Architect in the spotlight: De Gregorio

Janseniushof in Leuven

"Fair equipment tailored to the city"

A typical feature of Leuven's urban renewal is the river Dijle, which is a location for new residential projects. One of the most remarkable inner city renewal projects along the river Dijle is the Janseniushof (Jansenius Street – Minderbroeder Street), where project developer, Resiterra, is developing 206 housing units builds on a 2,4 hectare terrain. This ‘city’ inside the city comprises a mix of studios, lofts, classic apartments, penthouses, retirement flats, ground-level single-family homes and sunny flats.

The architects Gregorio & Partners were commissioned by the  project developer to develop the master plan for the site. The point of departure for the team of architects was to transform downtown, where Janseniushof is located, into a contemporary urban living space conducive to cohabitation. "The historical buildings on the site play an important role in the overall picture. We kept to the traditional typology, retaining the accents and classic materials so that the project would fit into the cityscape," says project architect Chiel Schiffeler.

Green is a prominent feature in the whole project area on different scales: from private gardens on the common grounds; to park areas by the river Dijle. "We have even integrated the green playgrounds of Paridaens into the project. In this way it contributes to the overall atmosphere and experience. Outside of school times the playground is part of the public domain," reveals Chiel Schiffeler.

Furthermore, Gregorio & Partners also use the potential of the blue artery that flows through the area. "The banks of the river Dijle are a haven for rest and relaxation on the site. Thanks to the park and the playground the riverbanks are a place where local residents can meet. Another conceptual starting point is the creation of a street pattern to foster good living in the inner city. The differentiation of living typologies, the attention to accessibility and lifelong housing, contribute to a successful social mix on the car-restricted site. The thoughtful planning of the buildings on the site also creates new places in the city."

Colour research
Within this master plan, Gregorio & Partners designed this first residential complex. The facades of the Jansenius face brick are in line with the Nelissen range. The Jansenius is a refinement of the Premium, where Alfredo De Gregorio combined the colour scheme in line with the project. "The fascade choice was obvious," said Chiel Schiffeler. "The material fits in with the identity of the city and with the story of the location. Face brick also has the ability to age well. In this way it fits in perfectly with the townscape."

Opting for the Premium was the result of a thorough study. "We identified the colour scheme of the fascades in the inner city and then determined which colour perfectly fitted in with Leuven. The Premium corresponds best to that colour expectations."

In the meantime, a second building was erected on the site, designed by Christine Conix RDBM architects. They chose the original Premium face brick. The third phase is currently on the drawing board at Gregorio & Partners. We are curious about the colour scheme that this building will get.

Source : De Gregorio