89 social and moderate rental homes were inaugurated in September in the municipality of Molenbeek in Brussels by SLRB and its local housing association. The building complex Lavoisier is located in a former tobacco factory of the British American Tobacco. How can a former industrial site be transformed into energy efficient, affordable housing?
The factory has been operational between 1925 and 2001, producing up to 50 million cigarettes per day. In March 2001 when its closure was announced 350 people lost their jobs, generating on top of this social issue also a big logistical challenge: what to do with this huge space of 35.000 m² that was built in the ’20s? Citydev acquired the space aiming to transform the former industrial site into a surface that can accommodate financial activities and housing units.
In the end of 2009 SLRB was involved into the project, carrying out a feasibility study concerning the site, so that part of the space could be transformed into social housing within the framework of the Regional Housing Plan. One year later the “housing zone” within Lavoisier was created.
After two years of works 89 housing units of high energy efficiency standards were developed. Despite the fact that the building was renovated, it actually has similar energy performance to newly constructed dwellings. This new SLRB project also has a green character, including the creation of a common garden and the greening of the new courtyard between the two wings of the building.
The complex will be managed by the local housing association, SISP and can welcome 89 families that will be allocated 54 social homes and 35 of moderate rent. The overall key objective is to favor social mix. Most homes are already occupied.