VUB – ReUse

VUBInstitute: Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Research unit: ReUse – ReUse group of the ae-Lab
Researchers: Stephanie Van de Voorde, Ine Wouters, Inge Bertels, Ann Verdonck, Filip Descamps
Project: RetroCo
The research group on ‘Re-use’ studies the modern industrial and architectural patrimony (1800-2000). The main objective is to reconcile the authenticity of the architectural heritage with the modern standards asking for more comfort and safety.

The assessment of a building typically deals with the evaluation of historical, structural and architectural aspects. The starting point of the research is the construction history. Studying the used construction techniques, calculation methods and material characteristics offers information for the structural behaviour. In combination with the structural assessment, the historical, architectural and esthetical qualities are evaluated to determine the cultural value of the building. On the basis of these findings proposals are formulated to retain, refurbish, strengthen or demolish the building. Supplementary, contemporary re-design strategies, applied by designers who rehabilitate and re-use buildings, are analysed to help converting the historical and recent data into specific proposals and recommendations. Critical analyses of recent rehabilitation projects constantly question and indicate the historical, architectural, cultural and social significance.