Foundation laid for Immobel's Black Pearl in Brussels (BE)

On July 1, the foundation was laid for a new office building in the center of Brussels. In the European district of Brussels in the heart of the Central Business District (CBD) the Black Pearl, (former headquarters of the credit insurer Euler Hermes, dating back to the 1970’s), will replace a number of buildings that have become obsolete, between now and September 2014. This new 11,000 m² office complex will hold a Breeam Excellent-certified passive building, winner of the Bâtiments Exemplaires 2012 call for designs.

Immobel, a leading player in property development for 150 years, was declared winner of the 'Bâtiments Exemplaires 2012'  call for projects for the Black Pearl. This call for projects by the Brussels-Capital Region aims to encourage exemplary designs for construction and sustainable renovation in the Brussels region. The projects, judged especially on the strength of their energy performance, environmental impact, architectural quality and integration in the urban fabric came to a successful outcome with the presentation of the Award by the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Urban Renovation of the Government of the Region of Brussels-Capital, Evelyne Huytebroeck, on February 19, 2013.

Qualitatively passive

Black Pearl will develop a surface area of 11,000 m² of offices (+ 2,500 m² underground) on the corner of Rue du Commerce and Rue Montoyer. This should be completed by September 2014.

In addition to high energy performances (K22 – E47), the qualities of the site also means heating and cooling can be reduced, thereby putting it into the passive building category. From the outset, the building has been designed to obtain the Breeam Excellent label. The use of geothermal energy, high-yield ventilation units, rainwater recycling by green roof systems, an efficient, sealed shell, triple glazing, presence and absence detectors and daylight sensors to reduce the impact of artificial light, automatic outside blinds on the windows of the most exposed façades, a set of lifts with 'to destination' controls, are just a few of the major technical qualities of the building. Also worth noticing is that a 30 cu.m cistern will provide regulation linked to the flow of rain water collected by the green roofs. The water thus collected will be used to supply the toilets and will be used for cleaning and for watering the plants.

As for the underground, it will house a fifty-five space parking over half of which will be equipped with recharging columns for electric vehicles.

Gaëtan Piret, Immobel’s CEO says that “by the exemplary development of his building situated in the heart of the European district, Immobel is clearly displaying its will to create cutting edge buildings and thus reply efficiently to the today’s energy challenges and those of tomorrow”.

Evelyne Huytebroeck, Brussels Minister for the Environment, Energy and Urban Renovation shares her vision : "The Black Pearl is passive, exemplary and presents remarkable architecture in a district that is often considered boring. It is thanks to all its environment-, energy- and also architecture- related qualities that the Black Pearl was one of the winners of the ‘Bâtiments Exemplaires édition 2012’ call for projects that aim at technically and financially encouraging eco-design approaches. In this context it has received €300,000 as a regional subsidy. It is projects like this that allow the Brussels Region to pursue its transformation into a Sustainable City".

Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène Alderman for Town Planning for Brussels City continues by stating: "I will focus mainly on the architectural aspect of the building which meets a criterion that I consider indispensable in architecture nowadays: quality! Architectural quality is actually paramount for the improvement of buildings in our area".

The alderman concluded by saying: "I would also like to underline my commitment to the need to develop and think of a better distribution of functions, to develop a mix in other words. The building of the Black Pearl in my eyes is a positive and encouraging sign for a better quality of life".

Source: FL Consult

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