Project in the spotlight: Matexi “You do not build a neighbourhood alone”

Matexi realizes Gorsemweg, Sint-Truiden and Kattestraat, Overpelt with Nelissen Bricks

‘Welcome to the neighbourhood’, that is what Matexi has been standing for for more than 70 years. The neighborhood developer has also been doing that from a regional office in Hasselt since 2007. The vision of the regional office is to cooperate fully with local partners to take projects to new heights. Gorsemweg in Sint-Truiden, Kattestraat in Overpelt,... are prime examples of neighbourhood developments with a Matexi signature. Nelissen Bricks was the partner who helped Matexi choose a suitable facebrick that is in harmony with the environment.

From its 10 regional offices, neighbourhood developer Matexi is present in more than 300 communities and 600 neighbourhoods throughout the country.
The golden thread through all these developments is the pursuit of a pleasant neighbourhood. Attention to greenery, rest, relaxation, and the fulfillment of local needs contribute to this. “Matexi's local anchoring is only one of the ingredients to do that with success in every neighbourhood. It starts with our own employees. We work with local people. They know the market, the communities and cities, neighbourhoods and people of the region, so they know the needs better than anyone else. For the same reason we choose local partners; from architects to contractors to suppliers”, states project manager Kristof Desaer. Matexi strives for long-term relationships with its partners. The exchange of knowledge is to the advantage of both parties. “In each project, the unique features of the area play a part in the choice of materials. In Hasselt, we are working more with modern architecture, requiring a contemporary facade, while in the north, we sometimes build in rural areas where a rustic brick is needed. Nelissen Bricks helps us to find the right facade solution for both traditional and modern architecture. That is one advantage of the partnership”, continues Kristof Desaer.

Search for harmony
One of the examples where Matexi and Nelissen Bricks found each other is the Gorsemweg project in Sint-Truiden. The development offers 32 homes – built in 3 phases - where the locally-styled bricks Grafit and Moreno - both in Waalvorm 50 - were combined to give the different residential typologies a unique identity. The larger houses are constructed in gray-brown Moreno; the other types are erected in Grafit. The Manganese Black for the low garden walls and the bungalow-houses balances the diversity and harmony in the area. The facade masonry work is done in half-brick style and joined tone-on-tone. The bricks are interchanged with cedar wood facade and zinc plating. The design of Creja Architects places the houses around a central green square. “This is how you create neighbourhoods. In our view, selling is more than just dividing up an area. We also take into account the environment, with access and with the presence of facilities. It must be pleasant to stay in for the long run. To achieve this, we designed a car-free neighbourhood with all the necessary parking facilities, we set up a playground that stimulates social meetings, and chose a good mix of residential typologies to attract a diverse population”, informs Kristof Desaer.

Dynamics in the neighbourhood
On the other side of the province, in Overpelt, Matexi is building a sequel to Kattestraat. This neighborhood will eventually accommodate 67 properties. “In this first phase we are building 20 dwellings, of which 8 have already been completed and the remaining 12 are in production”, says Kristof Desaer. This time D&A Architects designed the neighbourhood concept. The Lommel designers arranged the semi-detached houses mainly around an elongated green interior area. The semi-detached houses are connected carport-to-carport to each other. With the selection of Lava, Waalvorm 50, the houses integrate well in the rural environment. The masonry work of the bricks is in half-stone and is finish with a sand-cement joint.

At the first glance, the homes of Matexi appear to be little different from the average house. Nevertheless, Matexi knows how to create a success story. “We literally and figuratively build that neighbourhood. It's more than a green square with a playground. We also stimulate social life in the neighbourhood. We will bring the neighbours together, for example by arranging and sponsoring a summer barbeque or New Year’s drink.
And we encourage buyers to choose their neighbours by rewarding them for it. All these little things bring about a dynamic that encourages the young neighbourhood", says Kristof Desaer in closing.