Brutopia – a cohousing project in Brussels

Buying a house in the city of Brussels isn’t cheap. When the founders of the Brutopia project were looking for a new place, they realised that going the normal way wasn’t an option. Instead of looking elsewhere, they got creative: sharing all costs between a larger group of people would lower the costs for each individual. And so Brutopia was born.

Brutopia is a cohousing project in Forest, a commune of Brussels, where 30 people got together to build their own living space. Costs were cut by shared buying of the grounds and materials, circumventing a project developer by going at it themselves, and doing anything they could themselves. As such, they reduced the cost per unit by about a quarter of the going price in Brussels.

The project is also deeply rooted in ecological and sustainable living. The planned rainwater recovery system and reduced heating consumption gained the project several monetary prizes allocated by the city of Brussels for “model homes”. This money was also invested into the project and allowed for the necessary materials to make most units passive.

Every part of the project was conceived by its future inhabitants. There are different sized units to accommodate those living alone as well as families. The 700m² garden is to be shared, as well as the utility rooms on the ground floor. The architects (Stekke + fraas) decided not to plan living units on the ground floor. Instead, there are commercial spaces available, of which the architects will take one, and another has already found an owner as well. There are still some places left, if you’re looking for a green workplace in Brussels!

more:

The project has its own blog where you can follow their progress into more detail: Utopia Brussels’ blog.

It featured in local newspaper Brussel Nieuws on several occasions: (in Dutch) in 2009, and recently at the start of construction, in 2012.

Brussels has several support measures in place as incentives for sustainable building. Read more about it on Brussels, Sustainable City.

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One comment

  1. […] During this one day visitors will be able to get access to architectural projects that are otherwise off-limits such as residential projects and office spaces. There are guided tours in certain cities and areas, as well as guided visits to some of the larger projects. There is, for example, a guided tour of the now finished Brutopia project we wrote about in the past. […]

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