• architecture

    it’s all about people

    Being an architect means constructing, renovating and sustainably rehabilitating places for living and working. It means adapting each environment to the needs and desires of its occupants and to the benefit of locals.

    Far from being limited to the plot of land on which the client is building, a  site extends to a wider perimeter: a district, a city, a public area in which numerous functions and persons exist side by side.

    These days, buildings in need of renovation are also included in these  sites. From a sustainable point of view, this avoids a brutal demolition-reconstruction operation. In a society where people often forget that the end users of the buildings we design are people like you and me, assar is committed to an overriding priority: to respond to people’s needs and wishes. It is the very essence of what we do at assar.

  • interior architecture

    creating an identity

    Being an interior architect means using light, colours and materials to express the identity of the space, the conviviality of its functions and the fluidity of its circulation routes.

    Interior architecture conveys a message. How this is expressed – sometimes very freely – depends on the choice of materials, and their aesthetic, technical and ecological qualities. These expressions vary according to the project – and even within a project: from one room to another. A company’s headquarters, a hospital, an exhibition hall, a reception area, offices... all these spaces are iconic in their own way, and it is their interior universe which expresses their character and their identity.

  • BIM

    a collaborative tool that optimises the project management process

    BIM is used to improve communication, coordination and collaboration, enabling anyone who is involved in a construction project to have a more comprehensive understanding of it, thus optimising all its phases.  

    The exchange of information plays a key role in the bim (building information management) process, requiring a commitment from all the project partners. At assar, bim managers and bim coordinators are responsible for coordinating a bim project and the communication between the various parties involved, making use of protocols, workflows, exchange and collaboration platforms and as well as the digital model.

    One of the greatest benefits of bim in construction is to facilitate, anticipate, and visualise the project in all of its phases: from its earliest conception, in design development studies, on the construction site, to its maintenance. Thanks to the recognised expertise of its teams, assar is able to assist its clients with putting in place this process, by giving them access to the virtual visit, defining the bim objectives that are of use in their projects with them, and by managing all  stakeholders in future developments to achieve these objectives, as well as offering optimum bim follow-up.

  • landscape design

    bringing the richness of nature to the project

    Being a landscape architect means understanding an environment’s ecological value and biodiversity to include it in the development of each project.

    Landscape design, often a missing link in the range of competences of many Belgian architectural firms, is extremely important. While the landscape architect often raises several questions, (s)he also devises innovative solutions for blue and green systems that include but are not limited to water management structures like drainage and storm basins, as well as other ecological management systems that include overall greening through the use of adaptive plant species that enable  biodiversity. Not adopting such an approach is the  equivalent of neglecting an essential aspect of the project. More often than not, new districts are subject to demanding environmental assessments like Natura 2000; hence, integrating the discipline into each assar project, sometimes in collaboration with other specialist firms , is totally obvious to us and we fully take it on board.


    Constructing a sustainable future.

    Constructing a sustainable future also means controlling the environmental impact of every project. This involvement extends beyond the simple necessity of designing and delivering neutral buildings in terms of their energy use, to include the commitment to making a significant reduction in the grey energy associated with each development.

    In respect of assar’s environmental commitments, the imperative of sustainability requires the control of the significant portion of grey energy in the carbon footprint of a building. This awareness now requires action to be taken on the upstream and downstream flows of materials involved with site working. It prescribes re-use, circular construction use, or the use of materials passports, contributing to the limitation of the quota of grey energy inherent in all projects.

    For assar this undertaking is indissociable from a successful energy transition. It also involves, amongst others, the complete understanding of the Totem and Madaster tools. These tools enable the objectification of constructive and logistics choices at each stage of the project. They contribute to the commitment to constructing lasting, flexible, and efficient buildings, that contribute to enhancement of the practice’s reputation.

  • urban design & planning

    organizing the city across multiple scales

    Being an urban designer and planner means to approach the city as a system, in which built form and open space are interlinked. It means organising the  city and  its flows, its functions and its uses, and its services and public spaces to create dynamic places for people. It means striking a balance between functions, services and cultural opportunities that have an impact on improving quality of life.

    To create an inclusive portion of a city that caters to its inhabitants, urban density is an important aspect  in order to understand how a city  functions and to design density-appropriate components for it. From a functional uses perspective, for example, shops, offices, housing, leisure, care and research centres  can be thought of as  interconnected and interdependent hubs in cities. The architect’s task is to preserve the balance between these hubs and functions.

    In an age where we continue to become more ecological, every development needs to be thought of as an eco-district to systematically think of its functional flows as a circular mechanism. In fact even a building within itself is a mini-city that can use the same logic. This all contributes to the creation of inter-generational spaces, where special attention is paid  to people with reduced mobility, and where a diverse range of  transport modes is made available, ensuring infrastructure and resources  that can be used by everyone.

  • project management

    the client’s guarantee of quality

    Managing a project means managing – from conception to closeout – every aspect of the resources and areas of competence, thereby guaranteeing that the project’s final quality is in line with deadline and budget.

    The project manager draws on assar’s in-house expertise for the optimal management of the project’s budgets, costs, contracts, regulations and resources. He/she (s)he also assists the client in defining, planning, overseeing and finalising the project in line with all quality requirements.

  • construction management

    taking up the challenge of constraints

    Overseeing a construction site means working onsite and anticipating constraints in order to respond to the permanent challenge of always building better faster.

    The current model of ‘always building better faster’ requires architects to be efficient on several levels: helping the client with the conception and managing construction until closeout. The construction manager supervises, offers guidance and recommendation, suggests details or changes at each stage of the project. Construction managers have already demonstrated their capabilities on industrial construction projects and during the construction of laboratories and headquarters for GSK. Relying on indispensable and practical know-how, the construction manager translates the innovations of the conception phase to the reality of the worksite.

    The innovations developed by assar benefit considerably from the on-site experience and are thus firmly anchored in reality.

  • health & safety coordination

    increasing value, minimising risk

    Health & safety coordination implies creating added value by preventing possible defects in a building. It means increasing the well-being of occupants while reducing the amount of later maintenance and other works.

    Health & safety coordination was made compulsory by a Royal Decree in 2001. It is integrated in a project at the pre-project stage, anticipates project risk and creates added value in terms of subsequent maintenance and works. The coordinators are trained architects with extensive multi-disciplinary experience in the construction process and the reality on the ground, making every participant aware of the necessity of minimising risks.

    Their multidisciplinary experience of the construction process and their understanding of practical realities guarantee a quality service.

  • feasibility studies

    including all the variables

    Studying a project’s feasibility involves bringing together the numerous different areas of competence in order to analyse and integrate each economic, technical, financial and planning variable in the project vision.

    There are various elements to consider in a feasibility study, including internal and external competences (lawyers, fiscal experts, engineers…) as well as the economic, technical, and financial aspects, among others. Feasibility studies a project’s development potential taking into account the site and its surroundings, as well as its budget and time constraints, in a way that integrates variables which are sometimes contradictory.

  • programming

    understanding and being understood

    Programming means including the project manager in discussions that are vital for understanding their project, expressing   their choices and  quantifying their needs.

    Programming means adding value to spaces by giving them use and meaning.

    Programming does not involve expressing vague wishes or listing quantifiable needs. Instead, it gives the client the option to specify his choices while the architect can conceive and propose solutions to upstream the project.

    Programming is inextricably linked to the conception phase, facilitating the transition from a virtual world to a concrete reality, that is committed to paper. It transforms the initial questioning which is unique to each project, into tangible meaningful responses.

  • building audit

    writing out the potential future

    An architectural audit of a building or a plot of land is more or less comparable to writing out an introduction about what is feasible, enabling all the parties involved to better anticipate on and organise the project’s potential future. The architect wears many different hats, including detective and historian.

    Assar performs audits of existing buildings and unbuilt land or site. The audit starts from an assessment or analysis, studying its conditions, weaknesses, potentials, and conformity to norms (to name a few), to anticipate and organise its future. A vital initial step is carried out with the assistance of other professionals, such as engineers, technicians, specialists, and  lawyers.

    The audit does not impose a solution, it merely suggests a path forward. In the next phase, the architectural teams (whether or not from assar), will conceive a design.