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Families turn old police station into sustainable co-housing

Belgian design firm Polygoon Architectuur and Jouri De Pelecijn Architect have brought to life the dream of four local families: a sustainable collaborative housing project that maintains sufficient privacy while providing shared functions. Dubbed Living Apart Together, the four-unit co-housing development is located within a former police station in Antwerp. The adaptive reuse project emphasizes sustainable design by integrating energy-efficient systems, renewable materials and a green roof.

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Located within cycling distance of the city center, the Living Apart Together project features shared bicycle storage as well as car-sharing. As a result, the area along the street side that was originally dedicated to paved parking spaces has now been transformed into a front garden with lush greenery for the benefit of both the inhabitants and the surrounding neighborhood. 

A co-living home with brick facade and windows.

The architecture studio converted the former Antwerp police station into four equal-sized family units that are segmented with an extra dividing wall that bisects the original middle bay. Since the environmentally friendly design was a construction goal from the very beginning, the architects took care to preserve the building’s internal arrangement as well as the brickwork architecture seen on the front facade. Though each dwelling is roughly the same size, each unit features a slightly different structure; the outer units, for example, include an extra extension on the first floor. 

Related: Zaha Hadid Architects turn an old fire station into a sparkling port headquarters for Antwerp

The backyard of the home, showing a gray facade on the building.

In addition to reusing existing materials, the architects crafted the co-housing project with a materials palette comprised mainly of renewable resources such as wood and cellulose. The multi-family residence also includes a green roof and rainwater harvesting systems, as well as solar water heaters to reduce the property’s environmental footprint. Garage boxes that were located in the original courtyard have also been demolished to create a spacious common garden viewable from the residents’ dining rooms, adding “a breath of fresh air in busy Deurne.”

+ Polygoon Architectuur

Images © Frederik Beyens, Jessy van der Werff and Stijn Bollaert

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