Suppot Navajo Adults with Developmental Disabilities


July 15, 2009 @ 6:30 pm
Belgian Green Builders Ahead of Their Time

brugesI had 3 page views from Belgium yesterday and that reminded me of one of my all-time favorite dark comedy films, “In Bruges.” In my opinion it ranks way up there with “Fargo” so if you haven’t seen it you should. I’ve now had visitors from 12 countries on 4 continents and Belgium becomes my 2nd country specific post today.

Founded more than a 1,000 years ago in the 9th Century, Bruges is a beautiful medieval city whose historic center is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite all the lush greenery in and around the city, it is probably one of the last places you would go to seek out green buildings (although thick medieval stone walls provide very good insulation). In fact, about the only modern building of consequence is the Concert Hall opened in opened in February 2002 to coincide with that year’s Cultural Capital of Europe designation. However, the very essence of Bruges makes it a very green city.

Bookmark and Share

I already touched on the insulating walls, but think about the resource, materials and energy savings from continuously using the same buildings for their same purposes for hundreds of years. Additionally, I’ve previously written about green roofs – the same concept can be applied to vertical walls – and Bruges has numerous examples of natural green walls (stone blanketed by mosses, vines and other plants). Also, because the diameter of the city center spans only about 3 km (1.9 mi) and is paved in cobblestones, vehicles are discouraged. It is able to remain car free because of ample cheap parking available on the outskirts of the city (accessible within easy walking distance or free shuttle bus service) and numerous canals that earn it the nickname, “Venice of the North.”

Expanding on the theme of continuous building use, I direct you to a more traditional green building project in Belgium; The Barn House. High tech green architecture and design often overshadow building reuse and repurposing but these are worthy efforts at sustainability. I found this project via Inhabitat in a post from almost a year ago today. The photo below is credited to Danica Kus for BURO II.


Bookmark and Share


You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2009 Genuity Partners LLC. All rights reserved.