Live-work is a rapidly increasing trend in our society. In 2019 over 17% of our population was working from home. In 2020 Covid took the world by surprise and
live-work became the new standard. Bringing living and working closer together additionally creates lots of much needed benefits such as a more resilient economy,
optimized mobility, efficient use of space and a dynamic, diversified society. Today however, our living environments and workspaces are created based on the
principle of functional zoning and current typologies don’t encourage or support live-work interactions. In order to deal with the complex spatial, socio-economic
and ecologic issues we are facing today, this needs to change. We need new models for a better and more sustainable future society. Welcome to A Productive Future.
Houthalen is a small but spatially fragmented city in Limburg. The city is currently facing difficult socio-economical challenges, due to its mining history which ended
abruptly during the 90’s. My project is located on the iconic former mining site, currently a large void sitting centrally inbetween Houthalen’s spatial fragments.
Relations between the present industry and the residential zone or city centre are either unresolved or inexistent. Dealing with this and with local socio-economic challenges, my masterplan creates a mixed live-work area as a central connector. The site becomes a new public park of sequenced rooms, as a testing ground for innovative live-work typologies on various scales. One typology is the Atrium Workhome, a contemporary live-work solution for starters, students, creatives and craftsmen. Different living units are combined with collective workspaces and services, creating a flexible, spacious and affordable whole. By integrating public functions and an accessible roof, the building becomes a social condenser in the park. The glazed atrium is the heart of the project, linking everything together while serving various uses.