Initiators of the cohousing project at the old Onzea printing site want to move in in June

October 11, 2019
Gazet van Antwerpen

Eighteen families are building a shared future in the Prins Leopoldstraat. Literally then. Because they all put their shoulders under a progressive cohousing project that was called InDruk, a reference to the old Onzea printing company that was previously located on the site.

Large wooden plates are lifted into the air with a crane. The structural work of InDruk is gradually taking shape. Only two floors to go and then the private living area has taken a definitive form. Eighteen apartments will be built here, ranging from 62 to 120 square meters, which will accommodate 40 residents. “Two of them are still on the rise,” laugh Wendy Schellen (55) and Evelyn Claessens (29). "One of the residents is expecting twins."

The composition of a whole group that was on the same wavelength was slow, but today it is all right, the two say. “Some interested parties have left the project after a while. Of course you can. It's also a long process, ”says Wendy. “Now we have a nice mix of young families, the elderly, singles and couples without children. That marches well. ”

Common house

There is a communal garden behind the private residential units. “This will include wadis that collect rainwater to make it seep into the ground more slowly, and two rainwater wells whose water can be used, among other things, to flush the toilets. There is also a playground for the children and a covered terrace where residents can eat together, ”say architects Steven Bydekerke and Mark Depreeuw from the Archi4 bureau in Borgerhout.

At the very back is the 'common house', the community house. Because that is of course what cohousing is all about: in addition to your own private housing unit, you share different spaces. And in the case of InDruk that can count. “In our common house there will be a communal kitchen where you can cook for larger groups, there is a washing area, a co-working space, a playground for the children, a quiet area, a bicycle repair area, a guest room for when someone has a visit. wants to stay overnight ”, explain Wendy and Evelyn. “Furthermore, a large part of this space will be used as a studio. Because a lot of hobbyists live here. And I myself dream of a large library in the common sitting area, ”says Wendy. Finally, a complete residential unit is 'sacrificed' to a bicycle parking lot.

“For young families, singles, the elderly and couples without children”


A whole sandwich and a lot of work, for which the future residents themselves roll up their sleeves. “We placed the insulation in our common house ourselves: lime hemp. A biologically composed material. ” Because InDruk is not only a joint but also a bio-ecological construction project in which both the environmental aspect and the health of the residents are at the top of the priority list.

“The structural work consists of CLT, a timber construction system of large glued solid wood panels. These consist of pine wood, originating from Austria, where the plates are also manufactured themselves ”, Depreeuw, Bydekerke and contractor Jo Beneens explain. “In Europe, millions of tons of wood are in stock. If the trees are planted wisely, cutting them down is no problem at all. ”

The entire project is riddled with that bio-ecological vision. For example, natural paint will be used for the finish, green roofs will be created where possible, connections for electric cars will be provided, solar panels and heat pumps will be used for central heating ... Something that the residents would like to pay some extra money for.

InDruk is a bio-ecological construction project. For example, for the structural work, solid wood plates, called CLT, are used.

Together without obligations

If everything goes according to plan, they can move into their home by June 2020. "I was one of the last to join this project with my friend," says Evelyn. What appealed to her so much? “I believe that you do not necessarily need a large house for yourself and that you can safely share a number of things or spaces. I also find the village feeling that we will create here in the middle of the city attractive. ”

“This whole project is built in such a way that meeting and a warm feeling are central,” says Wendy. “Although without obligations. This is not a social project. ” “The residents will have the choice to do things together,” says architect Mark Depreeuw. "But we will take care of each other," says Wendy. “That will sometimes require extra effort. For example, I don't mind babysitting every now and then. ”

Follow us on social media
  • LinkedIn - White Circle
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle