To renovate or not renovate: that is the question. In the contemporary quest for more sustainable cities, public instances are trying to curb demolitions and new constructions in favour of the preservation and rehabilitation of existing buildings, whether the latter have any patrimonial value or not. But as the most promoted solution, is renovation also the most relevant one?

The elements to be taken into consideration for a renovation are numerous. It's a complex and challenging process that calls for substantial research. While some constraints can be recurrent, each and every building has its own DNA and requires, de facto, a case-specific solution. With ever-changing norms, regulations, materials, technologies and contexts, it's difficult to imagine a one-fits-all answer, especially in terms of sustainability.

Using a selection of elements that can help tip the renovate VS demolish balance, our R&D team dives into a number of offices turned into residential buildings (Manneken, Palatium, Edition, Woluwe Valley and Pléiade 71). A specific set of details are laid side by side and analysed through a common reading grid. Allowing us to set a work-frame for future renovation projects, this process is also an opportunity to highlight challenges, compare deployed solutions and continuously share valuable learnings from past projects with our team.

Edition © Marie-Noëlle Dailly
Edition © Marie-Noëlle Dailly
Woluwe Valley © DDS+
Woluwe Valley © DDS+
Palatium © Nathalie Van Eygen
Palatium © Nathalie Van Eygen
Manneken © Nathalie Van Eygen
Manneken © Nathalie Van Eygen