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Louvain-la-Neuve

The project for the surroundings of the AGC headquarters is based on a holistic ecological vision. It aims to enhance, and subsequently make accessible, the site’s biodiversity.

The parking area is positioned under the building, preserving the surrounding open area, using the natural slope of the site. Based on the morphological characteristics of the terrain, its orientation and soil composition, the site has subsequently been organized around three main zones of natural diversification: the wetlands, the boscage, and the prairie.

The naturally sloping terrain, typical for the Walloon Brabant area, has been domesticated and remodeled. The resulting microrelief integrates an interconnected network of rainwater reservoirs, merely perceivable as such but all the same allowing for a gradual absorption of the surface water of the site.

The resulting variation in humidity throughout these microreliefs turns the series of diverging microclimates into a huge catalyst for wild plants, such as ragged-robin or cuckooflowers and animal life.

The wetland zone is bordered by newly planted boscages, mainly along the site’s perimeter. Composed of mixed hedgerow, interspersed with a variety of field trees, they lend refuge to birds and small mammals. The partial use of thorn bushes like hawthorn and blackthorn make impenetrable borders, although their modest heights are not compromising the views onto the surrounding landscape.

The third zone of diversification on the site constitutes an area of semi-dry grasslands. Through a diversified management scheme, zones of intensive maintenance alternate with zones where nature is left to itself, seeking balance between human use and nature development.

The interaction between these different zones creates a great biological richness and allows the site to mature into a resilient ecosystem, while also offering the users an enjoyable view from the offices.

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
2017
2,9 ha
In collaboration with:
Samyn and Partners Architecture and Engineering

© 2020 Erik Dhont