Balk van Beel - Louvain


New construction of 101 apartments, 2,400m² of commercial space and underground parking for ± 400 cars, on two underground levels.

The Balk van Beel is part of the Tweewaters city masterplan. The 185 m long building borders on a pedestrian and cycle path that connects the Vaartkom directly with the city centre.

The ground floor also contains small neighbourhood shops and services and the three lobbies to the apartments above. In these lobbies every inhabitant has a bicycle rack and a home delivery box. The apartments are reached via large open staircases.

The five storeys are staggered relative to each other, giving the building a strong note of elegance and attractive outdoor spaces for the apartments. The upper storey is conceived as consisting mainly of patio penthouses.

In this project very great importance was attached to sustainability. All apartments are low energy (E <60 and k <33), the power supply is 100% green, sustainable materials were used, and there are green charging stations for electric cars and a neighbourhood-wide waste management system. A cogeneration plant also feeds a district heating network. The airtightness tests of the apartments fulfil the client's minimum of all scoring below 1.

In 2012 and 2013, the project twice received a prestigious BREEAM award, and with a score of 87.8% was praised as an ‘outstanding’ building in the area of sustainability. It also emerged as winner in the international comparison with all other buildings in its category. For this reason, Balk van Beel can be called the most sustainable residential building on the European mainland. Due to its excellent thermal and acoustic insulation, high recycling percentage and renewable energy sources, and its intelligent energy use and sustainable choices of material, it was also nominated by MIPIM in the category ‘Best Innovative Building’. The sustainable building was combined with substantially increased living comfort for its residents, with the environment also benefiting.

The city centre, public transport, numerous businesses, and family support services are located within walking distance.

Willemen Construct came into being on 1 July 2018 as a result of the merger between Willemen General Contractor and the construction department of Kumpen.


Project Details

Vaartkom, Leuven, Vlaams Brabant, Belgium
Stéphane Beel
Engineering Office 
B.A.S. (stabiliteit), Ingenium (speciale technieken), Daidalos (akoestiek), TDA (energiestudies & advies)
Surface area above ground 
15 000m²
Surface area subterranean 
6 000m²
Special features
Construction period
3 years 3 months
Start work
End of work