The Hertogensite residences are located at the edge of the medieval centre of Leuven, an important university city near Brussels. The project forms part of a masterplan for the redevelopment of a former hospital campus that divided the west of the city from the centre. The masterplan called for a 14-storey tower building connected to nine townhouses and a four-storey apartment building on a long, narrow site between a fragment of the city’s medieval wall and a branch of the River Dijle.
The town houses run parallel to the city wall, connecting to the tower to the north and the apartment building to the south. The scheme unifies these three distinct typologies into one coherent whole by finding a similar architectural language throughout, defined by the size of a living unit and the consistent use of grey coloured brick cladding. The townhouses and apartments step in plan, emphasising their individual character. In the tower each living unit is expressed by flipping the apartment’s balconies from one floor to the next. The result is a scheme with a strong sculptural form that also responds in key ways to its surroundings.
The tower has two apartments per floor and is crowned with a penthouse. The lower floors have a close connection to a new public park to the north, while the upper floors offer views to the centre of Leuven. Large balconies, carved into the tower, take advantage of these views while being positioned to respect the privacy of the townhouses to the south.
The townhouses define a new street along the medieval wall which has been restored as part of the masterplan. They step from three storeys on the street front, to four storeys at the rear. Each town house has a garden that leads to a newly uncovered branch of the River Dijle. The four-storey apartment building contains smaller rental flats and serves a transitional function, connecting the townhouses to an existing neighbouring building, further embedding the new development in the neighbourhood.