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By Maeva Toth

How to introduce greenhouses into urban housing?

Hybrid is an urban three-house project in which greenhouses features have been integrated.

Hybrid is an engineering and architecture project that introduces a novel way of urban living. The three-house project is situated in the city centre of Antwerp, on a straight pedestrian street. The main intention focuses on natural lighting and visual space to shape the houses and the choice of materials. The use of greenhouses in an urban and private context is the main technique studied, with the purpose of adding self-sufficiency into daily family life. Two main challenges can be underlined: integrating the project into a traditional end-of-20th-century neighbourhood; and avoiding overheating and humidity in housing. In the initial design, buildings were enveloped in a main glass structure, as it already exists mainly in Sweden, but also in Belgium. However, this type of design is more frequent in rural areas and it is problematic in urban contexts. Instead, the design evolved to an open large glass roof covering the whole height of each house and surrounded by greenhouse units. These units can act as adaptable spaces functioning as an interior or exterior area according to the season. The three houses line up on an axis along the pedestrian street, with the northeastern facades supporting the greenhouses and the glass roof. This ensures sufficient natural light throughout the day without overheating. Plus, translucid panels are placed on the glass roof to prevent overlooking neighbouring and to diffuse the possible entry of sunlight. Several openings are placed strategically along the houses to enable natural ventilation under the large glass area. The design draws inspiration from existing projects like "Staying in Paris" and projects by Lacaton & Vassal such as 18 dwellings and Rixheim. Hybrid has significant potential for improvement through further analysis of the cost-effectiveness of the materials used as it currently represents a high budget.

Assignment title
Project DREI HEEREN 2.0
Academic year
Study year
Structure Material
Structural System
bioclimatic, circular economy
Course(s) attached
Date of defense
20 December 2022