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New European Bauhaus


How can the paradox of empty buildings and a lack of affordable housing be resolved?

© European Union, 2021


How can the paradox of empty buildings and a lack of affordable housing be resolved?

Home4less, a Brussels-based social initiative, may have the answer.
The idea was a finalist for the 2021 New European Bauhaus prizes in "Modular, adaptable, and mobile living solutions."

By developing modular structures that can be easily dismantled and reassembled, the initiative provides high-quality temporary studio apartments and living spaces for homeless people inside vacant buildings.

Occupants must sign a temporary occupation permit (TOP) and pay for utilities such as water and electricity. The short-term solution serves as a stepping stone to permanent accommodation.

Home4less involves experience experts, architects, social workers, and companies of socio-professionals inclusion.

The project began in 2017 with research on the concept of a 'box-in-the-box' undertaken by architecture students at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Multiple collaborations with construction companies (engaged in social-economic integration) allowed the project to be implemented.

Some of the primary goals of the project include:

  1. Rehabilitation: turning abandoned places into viable dwelling possibilities.
  2. Revitalization: optimising urban spaces
  3. Circularity: reusing materials to build structures and furniture. Reutilizing organic waste.
  4. Collaboration: working with building companies and organisations dedicated to circularity and sustainability (CDR for eco-construction, Guilbard for furniture made of reused wooden boards, etc.)
  5. Energy efficiency: making the studios thermally insulated and easy to heat; using corks as an insulating material and smart boilers.
  6. Environment: planting gardens on the façade that are watered by rainwater collected from gutters.

Aesthetics and experience quality are fundamental for the project. For example, each location has a wall fresco painted by an artist. These efforts improve tenants' social integration in their new communities—promoting curiosity, synergy, and positive experiences.

When the inhabitants move out to their permanent dwelling, they can keep all of the furniture given from the service.

📷 © European Union