Covent Garden
SHORT DESCRIPTION The project comprising a high-rise building and low-rise building is meant to become an urban signal announcing the North area, the only purpose-built high-rise business district of Brussels. From an urban point of view, the project blends in as much with the historic low-rise buildings it faces on one side that it copes with the tall buildings it faces on two other sides while at ground level a pedestrian link is created between an existing park and a major public square via a landscaped garden-atrium which is also an “eco-machine” meant to organize wastewater recovery. Covent Garden provides for its users an extraordinary variety of different surfaces available throughout the different buildings and the different levels while it also provides some of the largest floor plates built in recent years in Brussels. ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITIES - THE ECO-MACHINE In a permanent concern for sustainable development and energy savings, the architect has developed the concept of wastewater recovery. Covent Garden is thus equipped with an installation which in its specific application is a first in Belgium. The garden of the atrium is a major area to meet within the complex while it is also the place where the “Eco-Machine” functions. The “Eco-Machine” is a wastewater treatment process using advanced biological and bacteriological purification techniques. This water includes grey water, water from washing, and black water containing faeces. The objective is to treat this water so that it can be recycled into the building’s own consumption cycle. Water is recovered at the end of the process and is stored in a pond of undrinkable water. It is re-injected into the building for sanitary uses (washrooms), for the building maintenance and for watering the plantings. The system proceeds initially by sedimentation in a septic tank and biological purification with nitrification: the bacteria are held in free suspension in the water and the biomass is filtered through membranes. In a second stage, the water transits via the covered garden into vats with helophytes, which play a fine purification role. When entering the atrium, the water complies with the minimum criteria required for safety and hygiene. The system not only allows for a reduction in water consumption but it will also reduce wastewaters’ taxes as well. Operable window-boxes allowing natural ventilation – but not the rain to get in – are also a mean to reduce energy consumption as it give a choice to each individual occupant. The window-boxes – allowing natural ventilation allow at the same time to hear the sound of the city. The radiant air-conditioning system or cold ceiling requires a negligible maintenance of the radiant ceilings and a very low overall cost. Fresh air enters the offices through grilles of ventilation in the ceilings and is extracted next to the lights after being drawn across the offices. The system, because the cold air is radiating over the overall ceiling surface provides the same comfort with a 26°c temperature that it would at 25°c with a traditional air conditioning system. Therefore, the radiant air-conditioning system requires less energy to achieve the same level of comfort. OTHER INFORMATION The building is an urban landmark integrated in the canvas of city activities. Facades of the tower emphasizing itself 2 levels at a time giving Covent Garden its character New and state-of-the-art office complex featuring: 74,000 sqm. of aboveground area 15,500 sqm. of underground area 350 parking units The complex is divided into two buildings connected by a glazed atrium. The 26-storey building totals 99m height and 58,000 sqm. of modular office area. The typical floor areas range between 2.100 and 2,300 sqm. Retail areas are located on the ground floor. The 10-storey building totals 33m height and 15,000 sqm. of modular office area. The typical floor areas range between 1,550 and 1,800 sqm. Vertical circulations: 4 batteries of lifts allowing maximum flexibility, each of them operating individually. All office areas are dedicated to offering maximum space planning possibilities either as landscape office space or through modular partitions. Main entrance facing the Rogier Square in Brussels’ city centre. The high-rise building alongside the railway offers maximum visibility and favours strong corporate identity. The low-rise building divided up in two separate volumes is harmoniously intertwined with the historical urban scenery. The building’s interior garden located under the glazed atrium roof offers a smooth transition to the nearby Botanic Park The complex’s strong identity is achieved through balancing arithmetical dark and white horizontal strokes. The white colour façade enhances both the garden and the surrounding street and provides optimal natural light import. The interior garden with its resting areas offers congenial hospitality to occupants. Dense and varied green spots bring about a Mediterranean atmosphere with a permanent minimum temperature of 18°C. Waterplants contribute to the buiding’s waste water treatment process, using advance biological and bacteriological purification techniques. Black and grey waters are recycled into the building’s consumption circuit. Rainwater is collected, stored and integrated into the building’s water distribution system. A 1,100 sqm. glass roof covers the 3-storey high garden atrium lobby. In total, 4 floor levels are connected to the atrium and equipped with a sprinkler system. Atrium, skybridge, sky terrace and patio give its sculpture-like aspect to the tower and increase the number of offices enjoying natural light for optimal comfort and space management. Each separate office partition can be equipped with a full-height window. Narrow vertical flaps allow natural air inlet and ventilation on all floors. These opaque architectural components animate and customize the curtain walling. Each office floor is equipped with water cooled ceilings requiring less energy while providing higher comfort. Air extractors are integrated in the lighting fittings. The two top floors of the tower accommodate sky rooms with 360° overall skyline view over Brussels. Recessed sky lobby floors leave room for an outside terrace covered with a canopy roof.


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