163 new homes will be finished here by autumn, complete with street-level shops and offices, a day-care centre, and communal amenities. Facade details are now apparent  and notably white metal work contrasting with grey brick, while interior finishes progress. The busy boulevard relates with the sloped gardens behind via two generous double-height porches strategically positioned to create effective permeability between front and back. These passageways lead to a soon-finished semi-public square of more intimate character over-looking existing terraced homes on the opposite railway bank. Designed for play and informal encounters, the low-lying volumes defining its perimeter and their careful positioning together allow for maximum sunlight here during most of the day. Already partially occupied, the broad panoply of dwelling types and sizes will hopefully push occupant diversity, while division into digestible sub-parts should push appropriation.

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Developed by client Besix Red, CANAL DISTRICT has reached completion. Fašades in light-coloured plissé aluminium are finished, with glazed street-entrances animating the ground floor and extending all the way back to court-side. Here dark-toned balconies cantilevered 3m out are all in place, carefully arranged to ensure maximum privacy for all occupants. A double-height porch precisely positioned on the rue Notre-Dame du Soleil's fold now bears its bright fuchsia ceiling, clearly marking the passageway between urban bustle and secured inner-block calm. Landscaping just completed will provide much needed greenery, defining shared play space and private areas. Looking up, a gently sloped skyline punctuated by a hop-scotch of rooftop terraces echoes the great variety of existing surroundings, characterised by a tight-knit kaleidoscope of built forms. The 98 flat project also includes a day-care centre and other communal amenities, aiming to bring added value to the neighbourhood.

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RIVA, including canal-side housing and a public plaza, is designed by architectesassoc for client Extensa. On site since end 2017, it is due finished mid-2019. The plaza will connect the Quartier Nord east and the Tours&Taxis neighbourhood west and from it a long-awaited bridge already under construction will bring pedestrians from one bank to another, along with a new bus line. Thus the project's potential impact at city-scale, similar to that of a launchpad, is huge: Brussels has been struggling to straddle the canal for decades. For this reason, work has concentrated first on the unbuilt space, unequivocally defining its perimeter, qualifying relationships ground level through user-friendly urban design and landscaping, strategically positioning shops, entrances, and a large communal bicycle hub. Decked with mostly timber, the plaza flows down to quai-level via wide stairs fit for lingering along the sunny canal-side. Indeed the quartier will soon be equipped with cafés, shops, and restaurants ... their venue justified by the number of new homes soon-to-come here: RIVA will bring 139 new homes, and the CANAL WHARF project architectesassoc is also working on next door will propose XXX. In part due to intentional focus on the qualified public space at pedestrian level, architecture above ground floor on RIVA demonstrates pertinent reserve. Large terraces, fluid light-filled living space, and strong inside-out dialogue suffice, supported by a subdued material palette including stone, bronze aluminium, timber and cream-coloured concrete.

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