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Flexibility and evolution
Offices aren’t what they used to be. We don’t only go there to work, but also to meet up, to interact, and to communicate. Architecture needs to interpret these new functions, focussing on flexibility and evolution. Even if this sometimes means shaking up old habits in order to better anticipate future needs, to improve efficiency and to maximise the possibilities of the space, whilst also soaking up the philosophy and specific character of each different company. Because one company isn’t another: from small organisations combining offices and production areas in one place, to large companies, whose head offices are their showpiece.
Inventive and ever changing
Housing is a vast notion. It is a reflection of society at a given moment. Today it has many meanings: single-family dwellings, apartments, student housing, hotels, assisted living facilities… All these forms and functions fit together and respond to each other in one street, one neighbourhood, one city. The current and future challenges facing housing are multiple: the need to increase density, inventing new functional combinations, a particular focus on inter-generational accommodation, and highlighting the undeniable position of sustainability and energy saving.
One whole, many approaches
General and private hospitals, psychiatric centres, care and nursing homes. This sector has a very wide range of requirements, from programming to interior architecture and technical equipment. This particular field has more users than any other field, all with their own specific needs: patients, families, doctors, nurses, management administration… On top of this, the buildings are made up of a complex mixture of incredibly technical areas as well as fundamentally human spaces, where the warmth and friendliness that are so dear to Assar are crucial.
The ultimate form of bespoke services: since each project is intrinsically unique, no programme is solely based on general principles; each one has its own specific constraints. Architects must familiarise themselves with these constraints in order to communicate with the future users. In these meetings the initial constraints are often deconstructed to come up with more powerful solutions. The main difficulty in this sector is the requirement for an ultra-comprehensive service, from a complete circulation flow analysis to the specific equipment to be incorporated with absolute perfection. Moreover, research does not wait, so the construction timeframe often needs to be compressed. In short: very complex, but exciting !
Contracts for the public sector and institutions sometimes present complex programmes. This is true of the renovation project for the Brussels Royal Military Academy, the construction of the new NATO headquarters and the new prison in Leuze-en-Hainaut. These are all projects that demand a high level of security and laborious circulation flow studies. Other public projects, such as schools, even if they are on a smaller scale, are nevertheless tackled with the same professionalism. Assar’s expertise lies in its ability to respect constraints while also making sure that these functional units are a pleasure to live in, and integrated within their urban landscape.