Hola. Somos Juan Antonio Gragera Carrasco, Alejandro Márquez Rodríguez, Álvaro Ruiz Ruiz y Francisco Zapata Jaraíz.

Este es el segundo y último post donde mostramos el resultado final del ejercicio desarrollado durante el curso.

Se trata de una pieza compuesta de 2 elementos, uno para las aristas y otro para los vértices. Es un elemento combinable, personalizable, no requiere cimentación. Con este elemento tratamos de cualificar espacios urbanos sin ningún tipo de tratamiento. Sirve para cualquier tipo de ambiente y apenas se ve afectado por la topografía. Es un elemento ideal para parques, jardines y frentes marítimos, creando un edificio juguete que puede ser disfrutado por cualquiera.


Hello. We Juan Antonio Gragera Carrasco, Alejandro Márquez Rodríguez, Álvaro Ruiz Ruiz and Francisco Zapata Jaraíz.

This is the second and final post where we show the final result of the exercise and during the course.

It is a piece composed of two elements, one to another for the edges and vertices. It is a combined element, customizable, requires no foundation. With this element we try to qualify urban spaces without any treatment. Fits any type of environment and hardly affected by topography. It is an ideal item for parks, gardens and waterfronts, creating a building toy that can be enjoyed by anyone.

Exclusive spaces – Spaces of exclusion
Tutor: Martine De Maeseneer www.mdma.be
Theoretical component teacher: Dirk Jaspaert
Students: Carmen Briers – Manu Vander Avort – Sellekaerts Pieter

A century ago, Brussels boomed in the era of the industrial age. So it attracted more and more inhabitants and immigrants who came and established themselves in their search for work. One of these major landmarks of that important time was the Belle-Vue factory, famous for its beer, geuze Belle-Vue, and previously known as the ‘De Coster Factory’. Placed aside the canal, on a very important vertex of the pentagon in means of traffic and in that time trading routes, this factory was one of the faces of Brussels.

Under this brewing activity, the form and look of the factory had undergone major transformations. Over time, when this beer making was placed to a different site, the building lost his use and vigor. Notwithstanding, this monument was left untouched but nevertheless kept his status as face of Molenbeek, situated at the backside of the site. This well placed remnant of the industrial age however can and must play a major role in the revitalization of Molenbeek and Brussels. The need for good architectural design and urban integration is essential !

As one of the last vestiges of the industrial history of this area, its visual characteristics are of the biggest importance for the collective memory of the site. The imposing brick mastodon shapes define the quai of the canal, exactly where it is adjoining the city center. The landmark status of the factory must be respected. By taking into account the collective memory of the place in our new design, the goal is to create a new appreciation for the old building complex.
“Urban porosity is a key intention for large hybrid buildings with the aim of pedestrian oriented urban places” (Steven Holl). Designing a public building as an island can’t function as a part in the urban fabric. This is why the masterplan for the area makes use of the soon to be executed Ninoofse Poort park plan by BUUR, but some essential changes are made to create a co-existence between the Ninoofse Poort and Belle-Vue, physical as well as programmatic. More globally seen, a link between Molenbeek and Brussels. If attacking both designs separately, disfunctioning of both would be unavoidable.

Designing Belle-Vue begins with 2 supporting elements: The collective memory and a mixture of program.
The existing memory, the covered courtyard feeling, the brick massiveness of the building and the tetris block-like building shape of the brewery building, is handled by a concept “InsideOut/OutsideIn”. A new spatial experience is created by 3 main interventions. The first is maintaining the enclosed character and identity by keeping the front façade, keeping entrance locations and renewal of the strongest volumes. Second, the middle outside space is turned into a central covered courtyard which links all non-residential programmatic functions. Inside and outside space are at the same time socially controlled. Third is preserving existing facades but vary with its use. By opening up existing and new structures, identity is saved but a different use for them is created.

Programmatically, the site as a catalysator for the neighbourhood requires a healthy mix of users, activity day and night. The public program is enforced with a residential one. City flight in certain layers of the community towards the countryside forms a problem for maintaining a correct mix of city inhabitants. Here the residential can present a possible solution by ameliorating the aspects on which these flight is based. Levels are designed as one big plan, consisting of units and shared space. Passive activities are placed in the units, where the active take place in the shared zone. People live equally separate and communal. Relation between all layers of inhabitants is initiated.
The beer museum attracts yet again different users, where this museum is designed as a walkway that regulates all internal organization. The museum visitors will, on their walk, not only behold the essential elements of the brewing process, also they visually encounter the users of other functions. The experience becomes one of “see and be seen”.




The Pentagon has been alienated from its identity, it’s hard to feel oneself at home in the metropolis’ beating heart.

But can an architect restore – let alone create – a home? If we look up the origins of this rather vague term, one can perceive a fundamental differ- ence between the mental and the material aspect of living man has made throughout history. The Greeks spoke about hestia, the religious midpoint of a dwelling, and oikos, the house as a structure. In German one translates the former as heimat, which doesn’t only mean home, but also the relation- ship of man towards a certain space. Henceforth an architect couldn’t be able to build a home, since it doesn’t concern something material.

Or can he? We divided the manifestation of the concept of home into three aspects: memory, that what one remembers as well as what one has been taught, identity, how one is or appears to be as an individual, and ter- ritory, the space one relates oneself to. Maybe we can’t influence home per se, but we can manipulate these manifestations.
The first brings us to the historical context of the site: rather than a revival of functions, we restored some iconic images, through the use of certain seemingly classical typologies like a courtyard, a gallery and a grand café. The second aspect concerns local (building) traditions: instead of thwarting an old habit, we reinterpreted the typical non-urban typology of housing.
For territory we formulated a solution against the privatisation and seg- regation in society.

These 3 aspects of home mainly focus on personal individual qualities but a fourth important component of being home is feeling part of a so- cial network. In our individualistic society this is a quality one has to re- establish and emphasise without losing the luxury of personal space. We introduced the concept of ‘hoodhouses’ as a communal space for a number of families to help them to create their own neighbourhood. By using this tool we give attention to a good gradual transition between public and private space.





























































































Conceptual Diagram:

(orange) Revitalisation and conections

(green): Direct built intervention

Layers of intervention:

Old warehouses and building solutions:







Tectónica y estereotomía como herramienta proyectual.

Estudiantes: Carlos Galeano, Gustavo González.

Con base en una tema o un procedimiento proyectual, en este caso la tensión entre una construcción tectónica y estereotómica se realiza una propuesta de un edificio complejo (intercambiador de transporte, vivienda en altura, biblioteca) en un barrio periférico de la ciudad, cuya topografía inclinada exigía adicionalmente  resolver una condición propia del lugar.


Tectonic and sterotomic as a design tool.

Students: Carlos Galeano, Gustavo González.

Based on a theme or a process of projection: the tension between tectonic and stereotomic construction, the proposal is a complex building (transport interchange, housing, library) located in a suburb of the city, with inclined topography, resolve a condition required of the place.


Using as a structure element the CuBe and focusing on the extension ability, we got inspired of the drop on the water and  suggest a co-habiting model that combines communal facilities, work spaces and commercial uses. Citizens determine and construct their own lives according to their individual desires and needs. This solution  provides diversity possibilities and unlimited variations of spaces. The uses are mixed as a necessity for a 24hour urban vitality and street life, opportunities for social interaction and feeling of safety.

-Consider distance between buildings to respect people’ s privacy and right to light.

-Square blocks offer flexibility in accomodating a range of building types.

-Irregular arrangement of blocks can respond to the topography and the creation of focal points.

-Block interiors can accomodate a variety of uses, including car parks, service yards, communal gardens, etc. Design for  future changes of use





“Whenever elements of the built environment are sharply divided (physically, visually or mentally), complex relationships among spaces, activities and people on the scale of the community cannot occur”
M. Bobic

Continuing our exploration from the last stage, we have started mapping the following parameters : accessibility and inhabitants, (more precisely, the emergent patterns in the configuration of space, e.g., building buffers between public and private space) confronting conventional spaces, uses and materiality.

Interesting, is the need for residents in the Community to “mark their own territory”. Moreover, they suggest that physical territorial boundaries are there not only to avoid any physical and visual contact, but also to maintain ‘distance’ from the space abutting their neighbours’. As a result, defensive space is formed, privacy levels get higher, and social relationships (if any) are weak is at all.

From these readings of the above-mentioned patterns, emerged several micro-strategies we believe deserved to be tested.

This strategy challenges the existing relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces. As a matter of fact, people in Wenduine experience a strong delineation between those two postures, especially during winter. The strategy proposes to advance the very walls of the house further in the garden in order to expand the actual space used. The explosion of this strong and readable shell of the house in several places (of visual and physical boundaries) allows new practices and reduces wasteful consumption of space.

This strategy proposes to take the physical notion of the boundary to the extreme by expanding the thickness of the boundary itself. The aesthetic character of plantation is hijacked as a defense system to fill the entire plot. A niche is carved into this floral fortress, preserving a small pocket in which the house take refuge.

This strategy involves reconfiguring existing boundaries around and between individual lots. This notion is birthed from the idea that boundaries (physical and otherwise) are perceived differently and have different effects on those who engage with them. For example, a thick hedge might be perceived differently from a series of flower bushes. Also, rearranging the typographical layout of these different boundaries and testing the results, was an objective of this strategy. With this, we are seeking explore the notion of claims and ownerships of space; how people occupy and claim ownership of (physically) unoccupied space. The overlaps that result in multiple peoples implicitly and explicitly claiming ownership of spaces (private through public) is of particular interest and informs the micro urban strategies later developed. Zones/areas of inclusion and exclusion can be established, reinforced, diminished and even made to meld through manipulation of said ‘boundaries’; this is the core of these studies/tests.

The test challenges the notion of the external-barriers. This micro-strategy suggests a community free of barriers. The public-private diagram shows the radical changes between the high public and the high private. The complex notion of “entering” is eliminated and substituted by a simpler one which actually brings questions about the privacy levels of the home itself to the fore. The aim is to test the privacy levels of the house itself. Our exploration assumes that the more complex the territorial depths inside the house the more defensible it becomes the more the balance between the public and the private privacy levels. Can people feel more secure inside their own homes, instead of relying on their semi-private and semi-public space to protect them?

This strategy deals with the life of the street, and the life of the private space of peoples’ properties. We observed that in our chosen area there often the phenomenon of “defensive space” around peoples properties, and facing the street. We also wanted to address the fact that one feels uncomfortable walking on this semi-private area (“other peoples”-street) if one does not have business there. Here, we have tested a strategy of merging the often broad defensive space into one “compressed” single barrier. By applying this strategy the life on the street and the life of the private space become two distinct worlds; with no visual or physical interaction.

These strategies were submitted to locals’ opinion during our last trip in Wenduine. Although some of them were perfectly understood and accepted, we realised that we emphasized the concept of privacy vs exposure at the expense of the notion of security which should also be part of the equation. We defined four concepts to focus on in order to develop our architectural proposal : privacy, exposure, solitude and security.