The Kiel Housing Estate
Focus on building block A – Residentie Alfred Cools -, B – Residentie Alfons Huybrechs -, C – Residentie Frans Steger and D-E – Residentie Frans Schoofs -(S.M. Huisvesting – Antwerpen,1991:2)
architect/designer: Renaat Braem, Viktor Maeremans (Socialist), Hendrik Maes (Catholic)
landscape/garden designer(s): –
collaborators (enginners, consultants, etc.): Technisch Konstruktiebureau T.K.B
building contractor(s): S.M. Housing Antwerp (S.M. Huisvesting – Antwerpen), today Woonhaven
location: Alois De Laetstraat 2-12, 25, Emiel Vloorstraat 11, 15, Evert Larockstraat 1,2-10, Frans Hensstraat 2, 42-44, Maurits Sabbelaan 54
town / country: 2020 Antwerp, Belgium
gps: 51.191863, 4.373610
commission/competition date: 1949
design period (s): 1949-58
construction: 1951-1955 (frst stage of building blocks type A,B,C, D/E), 1954-1958 (second stage for building blocks of Type D)
Status of Protection
protected by: architectural heritages , ID: 126553
grade: architectural heritage (completely)
date: since 27-11-2011
valid for (whole area/parts of area/building): Te Kiel Housing Estate
remarks: architectural heritage decree on the inventory of the architectural heritage and set list (Inventaris Onroerend Erfgoed, 2017
A ORIGINAL PROJECT
Description of the site/buildings
The Kiel Housing Estate can be seen as a Belgian form of the Unité d´Habitation of Le Corbusier. This might have to do that the main architect Renaat Braem followed an internship (1936-37) by Le Corbusier and that he therefore was inspired and influenced by him. Accordingly, the design of the Kiel housing estate composes Le Corbusier´s five points of architecture such as pilotis, concrete frame construction with open galleries. It should be briefly mentioned that Braem was not just influenced by the French rationalist, he also had social utopian ideas where he could identify himself with the Russian constructivists. “He believed that architecture could be a kind of “social condensator” that would lead people away from the pre-existing bourgeois living patterns to a socialist way of living in which communal life was the most important element of daily life“ (De Vos, 2016:6).
The building blocks A – DE are all apartments, except D/E they also hold retail in the first floor. Beside Braem wanted to have a social center as a meeting point for the inhabitants, Woonhaven realized instead of that 40 dwellings for pensioners.
The whole housing project is located in Kiel, on the South side of Antwerp. In the archive it is addressed on Zaanstraat. This street ends up to the Kiel estate housing blocks, following the Evert Larockstraat and leads on the right to the Alois De Laetstraat (fig. 02) where the building blocks D1,D2,D3 en D4 are situated and on the left side there are the Emiel Vloorstraat and the Frans Hensstraat (fig.03) where the building blocks A, B, C, DE where standing towards each other and built up an inner court.
Originally the building blocks were supposed to be simply placed parallel next to each other. But Braems vision on building and living was to “set the human free”. Therefore his design included the following essential criteria light, air and space. With Kiel estate he succeed this by placing the buildings blocks on pilotis (made of concrete).