De Leunen

108 apartements & houses, Geel, B
Public housing
Client: Geelse Huisvesting CVBA, Geel, B
Co-architect: De Architectengroep, Geel, B
2015 – 2016

De Leunen is a post-war garden village characterised by so-called quartet housing (four houses in one volume). Diffuse greenery at the rear of those houses contributes little to domestic comfort. The technical state of the houses requires demolition and redevelopment.

To increase the level of domestic comfort within the green setting of De Leunen, the neighbourhood road is moved to edge of the area. The lyric of the scheme is the quality of the park at which all dwellings sit. Dwelling in this setting is suburban to which nature, greenery and animals intrinsically belong. The Leunen Park is suitable for play, relaxing, staying and short strolls. The proposal is rational in the application of repetition and standardisation.

The project is made up from three building types. All buildings consist of multiple dwellings ordered in a square plan. The living rooms and balconies always sit on corners, optimising sunlight and unobstructed views on Leunen park.  

The two wing buildings have four stories upon an underground parking garage. They mark the edges of the park. Each storey takes eight apartments around a lift lobby with a void and a staircase. The apartments have a continuous balcony which widens at the corners to a square terrace. The terrace is large enough for a seat or a breakfast table. A covered entrance introduces the main lobby to which a large bicycle storage is linked. Except the necessary hard surfaces at the entrance of the building and the garage, all surrounding areas are soft landscaped suggesting that the wing buildings are directly standing in the nature of Leunen park.

A contemporary version of the quadrant houses sit between the road and Leunen park. Car-free paths run from the street to the park. The quadrant blocks have four houses with their own garden and an external storage shed located at the access path. The private gardens are surrounded by garden walls to enhance privacy. Together with the gates in the garden walls, the roofs of the storage sheds form covered entrances at the front doors.

The octet dwellings sit at the corners of the project. They take four apartments with a garden at ground floor level and four other apartments with a private terrace on the first floor. Similar to the quadrant houses, these buildings have garden walls protecting the private gardens. Shared bike sheds form a grand access to the entrance lobby of the buildings.

The facades are brick with painted timber window frames. The windows have simple symmetric configuration allowing both modern and traditional furnishing and curtains. Wherever possible double doors give access to the Leunen park, making possible informal secondary entrances and a direct relation of dwelling to nature. Cornices and balconies are made in prefabricated concrete in ornate shapes.