Residential complex The Leopold Barracks

Architect: Matador
Client: Himmos   
Advisors: Planet Engineering (stability), Landinzicht (landscape architect)   
Location: Mons   
Surface:  7.845 m²  built area, 14.394 m² appartements, 1.406 m² commercial space, 4.277 m² parking  
Timing: 2006 – 2014     
Budget: € 20.000.000    
Status: realized

© Tim Van De Velde © BB

Project Support I Collaboration

Construction of houses, apartments, retail spaces and parking on the former Leopold Barracks site.
Winner of the Grand Prix of Architecture of Wallonia 2015.

This site underwent a major facelift as part of the 'Mons 2015 Cultural Capital' event. The city of Mons ordered the construction of the residential complex, Leopold Barracks, the renovation and the construction of the Mons 2015 headquarters and the construction of two public squares in between these new developments. The public space links the site with the Palace of Justice, the Theâtre du Manège and the historic monument of the Tour Valenciennoise, and thus forms a new centre in Mons.

This building holds 126 apartments of various typologies and 7 commercial spaces. Like the number of housing units, the variation in functionality cannot be deducted from the façade. Its rhythm was created in such a way, that the façade is like a veil for the functions behind it. This veil effect has been created by a number of very specific choices regarding materials and rhythm in the design.

The façade's rhythm determines the project and follows the preconditions for fire safety, light transmission, modulation of the materials, underlying structure and feasibility. These preconditions are driven by Bureau Bouwtechniek during the design phase and refined in consultation with the executing subcontractors.

The façade is an ode to a classic parament stone façade with a modern twist. To achieve this effect, the classical façade materials – parament stone, decorative plaster, exposed concrete and aluminium – were combined in a not so classic combination. The unity of this façade is caused by the continuity of colour and texture in the different materials. The contrast with the concrete terraces and the wooden entrance doors breaks the tight structure of the façades.

During the design phase, Bureau Bouwtechniek led the choice of materials in relation to their mutual compatibility and detailing of the material transitions. During the implementation, from the start, BB and the main contractor intensively searched for the exact materials and the appropriate shades of colour based on many experiments and samples.

Bureau Bouwtechniek is responsible for the complete construction-technical support of architect firm Matador from the tendering phase. BB is responsible for technical assistance during the design process, the layout of the implementation plans, the development of technical details, the blueprint of constructional specifications and estimates. BB leads the monitoring of the implementation.

BB team: ir. arch. Julie Janssens, arch. Francesca Cosby, int. arch. Katie Van der Borght