On Friday 25 February, the International Property Awards were presented in London, as is customary every year. This prestigious prize evaluates real estate projects in various fields and categories. The Belgian architecture firm Jaspers-Eyers Architects, with offices in Brussels, Leuven and Hasselt, is a returning laureate at the event. This year, the firm was once again granted a special honour. The office building Quatuor, a project of developer Befimmo, designed and built by Jaspers-Eyers, has been elected Best of Europe in the category Office Buildings. The IPA jury consists of more than 100 experts from different segments of the real estate industry. Each project is assessed on a number of criteria, such as design, quality, service, originality and sustainability.
Well-being and sustainability
Quatuor is an office project at the entrance to the Brussels North Quarter. On the site of the former Baudouin building, Jaspers-Eyers and real estate operator Befimmo are building an energetically efficient project that, despite its considerable surface area of over 60,000 m2 , consists of four compact volumes. Quatuor has been awarded the BREEAM Outstanding certificate, which is partly due to the interplay of open and closed in the façade, the limited glass surface area and the 1,400 vertical solar panels positioned at right angles to the façade. The result is a special combination of energy generation and aesthetics. Ecology and well-being are central themes throughout the project. Just think of the plants, flowers, trees and green roofs present everywhere, which contribute to a healthy, pleasant environment for the employees.
Compact giant, soft shapes
Quatuor owes its compactness to the triangular and rounded volumes, which almost automatically invite the passer-by into the green inner area. Moreover, thanks to the diagonal sightlines between the volumes, a connection to the city is established from everywhere in the building. This connection is most tangible in the transparent base, which provides an open relationship between the inner garden and the street and offers interesting options for commercial space. The attention to transparency, public space and connection with the surroundings means that the project is artlessly embedded in the existing urban fabric. Quatuor extends its tentacles into the surroundings and seeks a relationship with the existing context.
Four volumes, connected to each other and to the city
The four volumes of the building vary in height according to their position in the urban fabric, and in this way they link up organically with their surroundings. The highest volume is located on the side of the Albert II-laan and the inner ring road around Brussels. The lowest volume connects with the buildings on the other side of the street and the housing in the adjacent district. Even with its rather massive, closed façade, Quatuor links up with the neighbouring houses rather than with the towers in the North Quarter, which are often characterised by glass. The transparent plinth surrounding the building unites the four towers and makes the project seem to float a little. The two floors on top of the plinth are different – more closed – than the type levels above them. The massive, sloping facades at the very top conceal south-facing roofs with solar panels.