mva masterplan


a collaboration with frontofficetokyo

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The corner site at the intersection of the Neerstraat and the Kortrijkstraat is characterised by a typical closed building block with private gardens. This typology largely determines the urban fabric of Avelgem.

MVA Masterplan seeks to abandon the typical Flemish closed facade and develop the block such that the inner area and the urban fabric are interwoven. The porous character of the design blurs the boundary between the public space and the inner area and allows the enclosing landscape to reach the rear end of the site. Located in the heart of the town, the site benefits from a wide presence of public facilities.

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Instead of constructing a stripped down, simple and familiar environment, MVA aims to create an inclusive space meant to accommodate all types of residents. Multiple rooms, floors and terraces generate a diversity of dwellings designed to answer to various housing demands. Mixed forms invite mixed users.


Each building follows a unified grid, allowing the usage of prefabricated elements. Great attention is also given to the garage spaces, which fulfil the current urban regulations of 1.5 spots per household but are arranged to be easily modified if car ownership decreases. This gives residents the freedom to grow and/or shrink their houses according to their changing needs and wishes: a new member in the family, a car bought or sold, or a simple desire for more space are possible. New functions can emerge according to individual needs: a terrace, a winter garden, or extra interior living space.  

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The pseudo-private setup of conventional buildings with a street-facing front and secluded rear is discarded in favour of a development that features openness towards all sides. Public space is embraced 360 degrees, leaving scope for car-free environment to its inhabitants. The positioning of the dwellings is determined by new connections, optimising views and privacy, and the creation of public and semi-public spaces. Every house has multiple terraces, acting simultaneously as a filter and a mediator between public and private space.


The complex, and it’s integrated public space are designed to never have a single final phase. Instead it is when the professionals ‘exit’ and the community takes over, that the project truly starts developing its outlook.


project: Houses mva

team: de baes + frontofficetokyo

location: avelgem, Belgium

status: design development

year: 2017

program: residential + public space