This is a project by JDS Architects + Ney+Partners and it is located at Brussels, Belgium. It was submitted to Architecture News Plus (ANP) by JDS Architects. Project's program: Office buildings, Hotel, Park. There are six images for Tour & Taxis.
The new Tour & Taxis masterplan aims to create a modern, vibrant quarter on the outskirts of Brussels Centre. The project site contains a number of aspects and vistas that correspond with the surrounding context and begin to suggest a gateway project for the proposed park; a project that gives prominence to the site and protects it from the nearby road and river; a project that both closes the park, like a room, and allows a multiplicity of connections through the site. The Tour & Taxi towers need to become a symbol for the city of Brussels and for the overall development of TNT. This calls for height and density, but also for buildings with a unique, landmark architectural character. We have arranged the massing of the buildings so they tie into the composition of the masterplan using the Woontoren as part of the scheme and integrating its scale. This leaves a scheme which has the height and character to become a landmark for the city of Brussels, while maintaining a smaller human scale locally as the massing steps down towards the canal and park.
As architects for the “façade” of the complex, JDS suggests composing a clearly identifiable entity that acts as the hinge for the city’s waterfront in unison with the largest anticipated public park in Brussels. A major portion of the Tour and Taxis masterplan, the park defines not only the built edge, but separates the historical architecture of the Koniklijke from the new masterplan. The BIM building, along with the hotel and office towers, creates not only an end but also a beginning to the park. However, the new park bleeds into the canal, leaving an open and windy condition which may make the park feel too grand and austere. JDS proposes to move the BIM building further into the park, but still within the regulations, in order to close the park, like an urban room. This would still allow for a major connection from the canal and road to the park but would make the entrance more human in scale. The massing of the towers, in this case, allows for views from the Woontoren through the towers from the surrounding streetscape. One of the fundamentals of making a successful scheme is to have clear and direct sight lines coupled with permeable access through the site, so that the project can integrate with the surrounding plazas and the park. We have therefore used these sight lines to create pedestrian streets with shopping facilities which will be activated by pedestrian traffic.
The façade is made up of a series of clay louvers which control sunlight to avoid overheating as well as controlling glare. All louvers on the south façades have solar PV panels on their upper edges and can be used to supplement power in the building. The façades behind the louvers have varying degrees of open and closed walls depending on the light value in Lux required for each space. Besides light control, we also have to consider heat loss. As a rule there will be more closed insulated façades on the north sides where heat loss can be controlled by regulating the insulation of the walls accordingly. On the south sides sunlight reduces the need to insulate against heat loss, allowing for more glass façades. The aim is to control both the intake of light and heat loss conditions keeping a constant balance in which the building can work as a whole to control thermal heat gain. The concrete floors can act as a heat sink to allow the slabs and louvers to warm up during the day and slowly warm the building at night, facilitating a warm building first thing in the morning in conjunction with lower heating costs.
The façades scale is made up of a series of louvers. With four per floor, two of these covering the floorplate and technical zone to hide any exhausts from the air handling and technical elements. Two more louvers are present below the slab, one which defines the upper view line and the lowest louver which actually acts as a handrail or interior bookshelf. The scale of these louvers on a whole tries to collaborate with the scale of the surrounding indigenous brick buildings and industrial units where large structures have much more detailed façades adding a human quality to such a large project. The louvers of the façade highlight each twist and turn as the building rises to its peak. In the BIM building we have a spiral of public space, coffee corners and meeting rooms which distort the façade to break down the scale further; a twisting series of voids which wrap from the very bottom of the park right to the roof.