Renovation and re-programming of prefab student housing modules

The Circular Retrofit Lab concerns the transformation of 8 student rooms in the middle of the green campus of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Today, the university campus is undergoing a transformation with several new buildings, in order to respond to growing numbers of students and to replace the existing student rooms. Consequently, the university initiated an exploration into how repurposing the existing student rooms can complement a sustainable development of its campus. The housing units, designed by Van Der Meeren, are made by prefabricated concrete modules, and compatible infill components for exterior and interior walls. Each 96m2 unit (4 modules) consist of 4 student rooms, a common living space and kitchen, and 2 bathrooms. Together with the TRANSFORM research team (VUB) we will investigate and demonstrate how Reversible Building Design can prevent demolition waste when refurbishing existing buildings. Therefore 3 renovation strategies are considered for the re-design of these modules: the internal transformation, the external transformation and the spatial transformation of the modules. At the building system and material level, the Circular Retrofit Lab aims to demonstrate how Reversible Building Design can prevent demolition waste and consumption of virgin resources while undergoing those adaptations in the future. The overall objective of the Circular Retrofit Lab is to explore and implement pathways towards a circular economy in the building sector by integrating the concepts of reversible building design and material passports.

location Brussels, BE | client public, VUB | program conversion of student housing in polyvalent facilities / exhibition space, co-working, student housing etc | surface 200m2 | budget 500 000 € | date 2016-2019 (research and design) | phase built | collaboration TRANSFORM (VUB)