2018 Roel VlaeminckRoel Vlaeminck - The Living Factory
Flanders is characterized by a highly fragmented urban fabric where the open space is increasingly under pressure. With this in mind, we still strive towards an urban planning where housing and industrial activity are strictly separated. The master project tries to avoid this space-consuming principle by introducing a new way of living and working in a more compact solution.

The so called ‘Living Factory’ is a place where housing and industry are no longer isolated from each other but are combined and look for mutual synergies instead. The project is situated in the region of Genk-Zuid where nowadays a lot of heavy and polluting industrial activity is present. By removing this type of activities to spaces where it is more acceptable, a transformation to a more kindly living and working environment is possible. The structural concept of the building translates itself into 4 long walls of scaffolding that will accommodate all the techniques and pipes to create an industrial aesthetic appearance. Between these walls all the circulation and program will take place. Making use of a modular plug-in system generates the possibility to create a structure that can grow towards the future and according to the needs of the users.

For this project I have chosen to focus on one specific economic activity namely a mushroom farm that will be combined with community housing and other public functions. Synergies are created when the residual products of the mushroom farm are used to generate energy in a locally provided biomass power plant. All the housing and economic activities in the building as the surrounding neighborhood will be provided with green energy. On the other hand, this residual product can also be used to create a healthier environment by cleaning the brownfields where the site of Genk-Zuid is currently dealing with.

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