Gandhilaan Housing Hoboken
Newly built apartments
Most housing blocks in the centre of Hoboken have preserved a few plots in the inner area, either as an open space or as a location for a variety of functions. It is often hard to find structure in these inner area buildings. POLO Architects designed an inner area building along Gandhilaan that considerably improves the spatial quality of its surroundings; new crossings were created, various functions were streamlined and the open space was largely preserved.
The project area is situated in the wedge-shaped area between Antwerpsesteenweg and Sint-Bernardsesteenweg in the centre of Hoboken. This is a traditional city district, both spatially and functionally: there are a number of relatively large housing blocks containing individual homes or smaller apartment buildings; the inner areas are mostly used by companies. The master plan includes two buildings on either side of Gandhilaan. The plot is located within a 16.5 ha housing block. Within this area, there is a mix of businesses and large-scale housing projects. The terrain is dominated by three residential towers with more than 20 storeys, surrounded by plenty of public greenery and a number of smaller buildings with two or three building layers.
On one side of Gandhilaan, a snake-shaped volume was created containing three building layers for most of its length. It ends, however, in an 8-storey tower that catches the eye. The head of this tower is aligned with the last out of eight perpendicular residential buildings on the other side of Robert Schumanlaan. The building structure embraces an open space.
"Opposite the open expanding square, a slightly kinked building is installed to give the space a backdrop. The inner area is open to the public: green, passable, accessible to cars, but there is no parking space. This design establishes a connection between the existing inner area and the surrounding streets between the two new developments." – Michiel Verhaverbeke, architect & director POLO Architects
GREEN BUFFER ZONE
In the section along Robert Schumanlaan, the ground floor is raised up to 1 meter above ground level. This results in a subtle distance between the private and the public domain. The front yard strip along Robert Schumanlaan is not a public area, but it is laid out as an additional green buffer zone and therefore individual residents will not be allowed to use it.
The volume is clad in greyish green stones that align with the colour setting of the surrounding buildings, but specifically with the adjacent residential blocks, which are primarily greyish. The base of the section near Robert Schumanlaan is clad in architectural concrete panels.
photography: Matthias Vanhoutteghem