The Brussels housing stock (1975-2000): building materials and heritage value

Villa Montgolfierlaan. Architects Jacques Dupuis & Dominique De Surgères, 1977 (photo:

Tweewoonst Caesarlaan. Architect Pierre Blondel, 1989 (photo:

Villa Wanda. Architects Smadar & Paul-David Perraudin, 1991 (photo:

Residence Le Grey. Architect Marc Corbiau, 1992 (photo:

Woning Reper. Architects Marie-José Van Hee & Johan Van Dessel, 1988 (photo: ARCHistory)

The architectural and urban heritage is under great pressure, partly due to demographic developments and ever stricter energy and comfort requirements. Even relatively recent buildings are increasingly and drastically renovated. When doing so, the original materials are often ignored, not valued and not reused, partly due to a lack of knowledge on those building materials. In this way, a great deal of embedded energy and culture is at risk of being lost. This applies all the more to the heritage from the period 1975-2000, which is currently in danger of being lost at a rapid pace before it has been properly assessed.

A first point of attention in this Applied PhD project is the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge on building materials and building techniques from the period 1975-2000. What are the representative materials and what are their characteristic properties? How were they applied? What is their cultural, historical, scientific and technical value? The knowledge is also geared towards possible implementation in the circular economy: how are the materials anchored and can they be reused? The application of these materials will be examined within the Brussels housing stock of the period, which will be mapped geographically, typologically and chronologically. Finally, a scientific and sustainable framework for the valuation of young heritage will be drafted. The criteria used to assess the value of 'young' heritage' will be critically examined, with particular attention for the contribution of the materials to the heritage value of buildings from this period.

Marylise is supervised by a double team of promoters from VUB Architectural Engineering and the regional government department The interaction between theoretical, scientific knowledge and the practical and policy-oriented implementation of that knowledge is central to this Applied PhD, financed by Innoviris.