Ceci n’est pas une ferme
‘This is not a farm’ is an agricultural and social project on the Zavelenberg site in Sint-Agatha-Berchem/Berchem-Sainte-Agathe. Its twenty-six hectares constitute one of the last agricultural remnants within the Brussels ring road in an area that has become densely urbanized. It is at once a listed site (1989), a nature reserve (1992) and a zone of high biological value in the Regional Land Use Plan. One of the major challenges of the project is to reinforce the agricultural dynamics of the site while protecting the natural heritage. Since a choice often has to be made between one or the other, this requires a whole new approach to agriculture. Urbanism office atelier horizon and architecture office OFFICEU worked with farmer Tijs Boelens on the farm and the surroundings. The architecture reinterprets the traditional shape of the square farm but combines a sheepfold, a hay barn and storage space with spaces open to social and cultural activities. This centre for agroecology is part of the Good Food strategy of Brussels Environment.