"Village square in Elmen", Kehlen (LUX)

Category :

Architecture competitions

Project :

new construction of a mixed-use building and a central car park in “Elmen village square”

Client :

Administration Communale de Kehlen

Country :

Luxemburg

Area :

ha 1,2

Start of planning :

2017

Planning period :

08/2017 - 10/2017

Award :

1st prize


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project new construction of a mixed-use building and a central car park in “Elmen village square” client SNHBM – Société Nationale des Habitations Bon Marché (LUX) complete architecture services WW+, Esch-sur-Alzette/Trier (LUX/GER) Rendering rendertaxi, Aachen (GER), mixed-use building gfa 2,520 m² ufa 2,062 m³ total area 0.99 ha, central car park gfa 5,317 m² total area 0.21 ha, Competition phase 08/2017 – 10/2017 Award 1st prize in non-open competition for realization

 

Mixed-use building

This building forms the southern face of the village square. Its façades feature an architectural language that illustrates the various uses allocated to each storey. The ground floor is largely glazed and is occupied primarily by a grocery store. The two upper levels feature more understated and closed façades and are home to offices and dwellings. They feature alternating bays and brass panels. This material becomes a “theme” and is continued in the façades of the ‘maison pour tous’ and the ‘central car park’. This architectural choice supports a sense of homogeneity in the interpretation of the village, thus cementing its identity. 

In terms of the internal operating of the building, on the ground floor the grocery store and the equipment hire space occupy a spacious area, spanning the building from north to south and extending right up to the northeast angle of the building. This double exposure provides maximum visibility. Along the village square, the setback position of the ground floor in relation to the upper floors creates an awning effect, resulting in a welcome connection with the central car park’ while providing shelter from inclement weather. The storage and distribution areas and the technical facilities are grouped together along the south and east façades, flanked by delivery zones and the vehicle access road to the ‘central car park’.

The first floor houses the office of the grocery store, leased office space as well as offices for the liberal professions, accessible via a distribution block located in the centre of the building. The technical facilities (toilets, cloakrooms, kitchens, storage) are located next to this block, with the façades thus dedicated entirely to the living areas (offices and multifunctional rooms). Only the grocery office has a second access linking it directly to the grocery store.

The second floor is occupied by two co-housing dwellings of four and six units, each with their own bathroom. Each apartment boasts a generously-sized balcony, opening out from the kitchen and dining area and embodying a true outdoor living space that encourages social interactions between the various tenants. The location of these balconies along with common façade with the ‘central car park’ allows for a seamless connection between the ‘central car park’ and the mixed-use building. They break up the overall composition of the ensemble while also encouraging an influx of natural light into the apartments. The living areas (kitchens, sitting rooms) are oriented towards the east or west while the bedrooms benefit from a north or south exposure. Much like the lower storeys, the secondary spaces (cloakrooms, utility rooms, laundry and storage areas) form a “technical block” together with the distribution spaces.

 

Central car park

Accommodating approximately 200 spaces, the car park spans two and a half levels above ground as well as one and a half levels underground. This highly functional construction, boasting a simple design, is organised around a steel structure. The structural system was adopted following a study by Simon Christiansen & associates. The ‘central car park’ and the mixed-used building are adjoined and together they form an important linear structure. To counter this effect, vertical brass panels animate the façades of the central car park’ in a game of ripples and transparencies.

The ‘central car park’ is hardly visible from the square. Given the amount of traffic flow it generates (mobility hub), however, its pedestrian entrance/exit must be clearly identifiable and is located as closely as possible to the village square, along the north façade. The vehicle access to the building is located along the south façade, so as to restrict vehicle traffic in the central corridor.

 

Landscape treatment of the village square

The development of the square revisits and further develops the landscape plan drawn up as part of the PAP process. The square is a response to the pedestrian paths and traffic: the ‘central car park’/park axis, the school/bus stop axis, the school/crèche axis, the “central corridor” axis. This network is further complemented by outdoor surfaces called for by the ground floors of the neighbouring structures: a forecourt for the ‘maison pour tous’ and a terrace for its brasserie, areas dedicated to bus stops, surfaces for stalls opposite the grocery store. The resulting spaces feature plantings and street furniture. A series of ponds underscores the visual sequence between the ‘central car park’ and the park and is reminiscent of the “Gröndchen” stream. The heart of the square is characterised by the presence of a central island featuring six tall trees, with an angular design and interplay of shapes reminiscent of the architectural concept of the surrounding buildings. It encompasses an open multi-use space (pétanque, markets, outdoor concerts, etc.) located above the underground retention pond. Much more than just a thoroughfare, the village square is transformed into a true living space, a place of relaxation, recreation and encounter for visitors and present and future residents of Elmen alike.


 


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