Architect Trio Architecture
The renovation of the King Baudouin Foundation office building in Brussels was an ambitious project. The 18th century property had to offer comfort, be bright and transparent as well as highly energy-efficient. Yet its historic features had to be maintained. Reconciling fire and water? We had to make many smart choices, according to Sébastien Petit of the Trio Architecture architectural firm. The King Baudouin Foundation is an independent, pluralistic organisation, which supports projects and citizens who commit to a better society and who contribute to increased justice, democracy and respect for diversity. The Foundation sets the example in our society, explains Petit. Its Brussels office building is to reflect this, hence the brief to reconcile energy-efficiency with transparency and respect for existing architecture. Not an easy task, since old buildings are very draughty and have poorly insulated walls and roofs. New construction is much easier.
O ptimising the structural works The building's structure was unaltered, even the cabinetwork was maintained. Petit: "We have carefully sealed all cracks and gaps, the building is now nearly as airtight as a passive house. We have applied thick insulation layers to the walls and roof, in order to preserve the building's character. We have thoroughly studied all details in order to exclude condensation problems. To this end we closely collaborated with the Université Catholique de Louvain and with Xella, the supplier of the insulation material." Bright, economical and aesthetic The same close collaboration applied to lighting, a combination of Flare LED downlights and R4 suspended luminaires. "These luminaires are highly energy-efficient and perfectly integrated into our design in terms of aesthetics," states Petit. "ETAP for that matter has helped us to save even more. In the design we aimed for maximum daylight incidence in the offices. ETAP installed sensors that continuously measure the local daylight level. Their control system ensures that only the necessary spaces are lit, which results in major energy-savings. In addition, all luminaires are fitted with motion detection. In locations where no one is working, the light will automatically switch off." ETAP also supplied the emergency lighting: K1 luminaires provide anti-panic and escape route lighting and K7 luminaires illuminate signage.