Refuga

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The Herkenrode site is located in the centre of the city of Hasselt. The site first served as a military domain and was later set up as a zone for governmental functions of the Federal government. The city of Hasselt sold this site through a sales process for a global repurposing within the context of the inner-city development of Hasselt. 

The construction team has designed the architecture of the buildings along the outskirts with respect for the historical context of the inner city of Hasselt. A varied and sustainable living project is realised through which various target groups in the inner city of Hasselt can be connected.

The client wishes to create a family friendly environment. The design of the very green and car-free courtyard offers a secure playing area for children of the surrounding houses. It is a peaceful green oasis where residents and visitors can relax. The intricate network though the centre draws a subtle line between the ‘garden area’ and the urban paved square at the buildings of the Uhasselt. The design of the public area also provides possibilities for the current hotel and catering establishment De Refuge to have a terrace in the inner area. This location is an informal meeting place for both the resident, the student, the professor/lecturer, and the visitor of the city.

The use of materials is sober yet carefully and lovingly detailed and with warm accents.

The individual buildings are realised by various offices in order to ensure the necessary differentiation, matching with the historical inner city. Between the offices clear agreements were made concerning materialisation so as to still realise a clear whole fitting to the historical character of this magnificent site. The plan is developed as a whole.

The flexible layout of the buildings creates the possibility to offer a suitable accommodation tailored to the specific desires of the various residents (families, single-parent families, blended families, singles…).

Sustainably building starts with a well-considered, future-proof urban development plan. An arrangement of houses that generates very compact volumes with a favourable exposure to the sun is a first prerequisite. Further, the open architecture with a lot of daylight and large terraces in a green environment contributes to the human well-being.  Designing highly flexible floor-plans doesn’t merely allow for a wide variety of typologies, it also offers possibilities for repurposing in the future. The multitude of typologies basically shows that the floor-plans are almost function-neutral. Wear-resistant materials that age nicely were chosen (sustainability = preciousness = reuse). In detailing the buildings a clear distinction of construction, installations and interior will be taken into account, so that these can be replaced or redeveloped independently of the various age cycles.


  • Location: Hasselt
  • Program: Residential, Apartements
  • Year: 2016
  • Status: Ongoing