413-A Childcare Centre and Welfare office _ C.P.A.S.

Rue de l’Epée8
1000 Brussels

2.437sqm (2002-2008); (01-413).

Services Performed:
– Architecture
– Construction management
– Interior design
– Mechanical, electrical, plumbing engineering
– Project management
– Quantity surveying
– Structural engineering

The site of this project is located rue de l’Epée in 1000 Brussels. It belongs to the C.P.A.S. of Brussels for the most part and the rest is the property of the City of Brussels. The surroundings will also benefit from the renovation of the neighbouring buildings (the “15 Minimes” complex) and landscaping of their grounds, as well as the renewal of the street (rue des Minimes) and the Brueghel the Elder Square, scheduled for the near future.


This new development, including social housing, a childcare centre and a welfare office is laid out like a hamlet to favour social and human relations.


The welfare office is part of a generous scheme: its role includes reception of people in distressed circumstances who need to feel respected and comforted. The fact that a childcare centre is available in the same premises reinforces the symbolic value of the project. At the same time, given its function and location, the project should steer away from any lavishness.


The building of the welfare office will be shaped like a small cylindrical tower (double ground floor + five levels, the top level set back from the façade). The outside diameter will be as small as possible (10.60 m) to blend with the size of the lots in the neighbourhood. This bold solution is in fact a reasonable one, since the cylindrical shape and the resulting lighting reduce the visual effect of the project.


The design of the building also responds to objective reasons: it creates a space that acts as a buffer with regard to the listed historical building on the corner of the square and, as a study of the shadows cast by the building shows, a lower but longer building would create shadow zones that would be more detrimental to the vicinity.


The storeys in the tower house the various medical premises and social workers’ offices. They are accessible via a staircase and a lift. A large conference room with a panoramic view is located on the top floor.


All offices are equipped with 2 doors to allow the social workers to leave the room if they should have problems with a “client”.


The use of materials in the building should express certain modesty. The inner walls are made of rough or faced masonry. Door and window frames are in light-coloured wood.


The childcare centre is a low building (ground floor + 1) erected at the back of the lot. The building has a curved shape, full of surprises and fun, taking advantage of the circular manoeuvring area in the street that gives emergency vehicles access to neighbouring buildings.


The dormitories in the childcare centre are located on the ground floor, using the nest and grotto concepts. The technical premises are in the basement. A ramp runs from the ground floor to the roof, fitted with a covered terrace and a hanging garden, and used for


psychomotor exercises. The rooftop garden and playground, protected from the wind by a veil of metal fabric, offers, a great feeling of security.

Document E41_01/413 -En Issue of 2008-05-27


Architecture and Engineering: Philippe SAMYN and PARTNERS All projects are designed by Philippe Samyn who also supervises every drawing
 Structural Engineering: Philippe SAMYN and PARTNERS with SETESCO (sister company 1986-2006) or INGENIEURSBUREAU MEIJER (sister company since 2007) if not mentioned
Services engineering: Philippe SAMYN and PARTNERS with FTI (sister company since 1989) if not mentioned

Client: C.P.A.S. – O.C.M.W, BRUSSELS.
Architecture: Partner in charge : Gh. André.
Associates : Y. Avoiron, B. Vleurick, A. Bölhlke, Th. Van De Casteele, G. Hasbroucq, Th. Wynen, D. Vens, Th. Verwacht.

Pictures: Marie-Françoise PLISSART.


2.720 sqm ; 2003-2007 ; (01/413).


For plans sections and elevations, please refer to the archives section of the site available from the “references” menu.

413-A Childcare Centre and Welfare office _ C.P.A.S.Filippo Aimo