Conversion of Cellebroeders to student units and shop, Hasselt, Belgium, 2012
The building on the Cellebroedersstraat in Hasselt is ready for a new lease of life, having stood empty for a while. The former shop, with storage on the upper floors, is located in one of the streets between the ring road and the Grote Markt in Hasselt.
The existing facade emphasises the anonymous character of the street and fails to connect with adjacent buildings.
The new plan includes an upgrade of the facade in terms of building physics and better integration of the building in the street.
The wooden cladding extends to the top of the building and works with the window openings to create a new composition.
Occasionally, the window frames break through the wooden cladding, interrupting the rhythm of the wooden facade. The floors have been divided into student accommodation units. The units are separated by light walls and respect the existing facade apertures.
Each room has a removable unit containing a kitchen, shower, and toilet. The top of the unit provides a space to sleep. The lay-out of the rest of the room is left to the students.
The ground floor space facing the street gets a new commercial function. The approach of a2o architects in this case was more like a performance in town.
Over a period of three months, the building was stripped and given a new dress. The temporariness of the performance was underlined by the materials used: a wooden facade, light walls, et cetera.
Whereas one would expect that this approach is only possible inside, this project shows that it can also intelligently be applied to the outer shell. The building and the structure allowed such an approach. Another advantage of this method
is that the internal interventions could be reversed tomorrow, if necessary. This would enable the building to be converted into offices, for example.