Through an architectural competition, organized by the City of Menen, Tobacco factory D’Heygere Menen was awarded to SA Vanhaerents from Torhout in cooperation with BURO II & ARCHI + I as a designer. The original configuration of the buildings is the starting point for the new design. The sixteen houses are situated around the historic enclosed courtyard. The new living quarter offers a variety of living typologies, such as apartments, houses and lofts – all different in size.
The facades are restored to their original state; bricked-up entrances are re-opened, while inferior outbuildings are being demolished. As a result, small, beautiful gardens are created on the ground floor for the homes. The homes on the higher floors all have a private outdoor space in the form of a terrace or a patio.
From urban cancer to urban anchor
The enclosed courtyard, which will regain its charming, somewhat diffused elegance, is given a semi-public function: accessible during the day and closed at night. This is the place where the social life and the integration with the neighbourhood at large are given a chance. The brasserie that will come in the wing on the side of the street can make perfect use of this. The courtyard can occasionally be used for small-scale events, such as neighbourhood parties or a story-telling night.
To increase the experience of the historic property, the existing construction is left largely untouched. This way, the idea of a ‘box’ came to life. The box is like a box that is put in the existing space, and in which a number of functional spaces are collected.
As a result, the authentic character of the industrial-archaeological property is united with a contemporary approach.
Contributed by BURO II & ARCHI+I