Le Toison d’Or
Ben van Berkel Complete First Project in Brussels.
Designed for ProWinko and in collaboration with Jaspers-Eyers Architects, Le Toison d’Or is a hybridisation of a traditional building-block typology and a mixed-use development with a retail podium. Located on the Avenue de la Toison d’Or, the mixed-use complex integrates into the urban fabric of its surroundings, whilst simultaneously merging a retail and residential programme.
Le Toison d’Or contains 72 apartments (from 50 to 750 m2), 13,000 m2 of commercial space, a 1,040 m2 crèche, 330 parking spaces and an elevated city garden of 2,950 m2. In order to avoid the monolithic qualities common to block structures, the façade of Le Toison d’Or is broken up by means of variations in texture, depth and the repeating rhythm of a series of curved vertical frames. These frames serve to enclose the balconies of the apartments on the upper floors, whilst also facilitating the large display windows of the retail units.
Ben van Berkel: «It was important that the retail units be as open and light as possible. We wanted to contrast this with the apparent solidity of the upper floors, to create the illusion that the vertical balloon-like frames were carrying the building; as if the whole blockalmost has the potential to float above the avenue.«
The apartments in Le Toison d’Or vary in size from small to large, enabling a varied demographic of city residents. To ensure high levels of daylight in the interiors, the floor to ceiling heights reach at least 2.7 meters in living areas. For the apartments situated along the Avenue de la Toison d’Or, this height increases to more than 3 meters. Open kitchens in the form of large furniture elements create an informal entertaining space in the heart of the apartments and determine the circulation through the spaces.