Rue de Hollerich mixed-use building: The first social housing project in Luxembourg with a steel structure

This mixed-use building in Rue de Hollerich in Luxembourg City was a pilot project in steel construction conceived by the Fond du Logement in partnership with ArcelorMittal according to a design by Diane Heirend & Philippe Schmit Architects. It is a part of the urban development plan of the City of Luxembourg to create affordable and high quality living spaces.

Detailed information

The urban building enhances the use of steel as a highly valuable material for this kind of construction presenting a sustainable, safe, time-saving, and cost-effective solution for social housing.

Architectural solution for social housing in a challenging environment

The challenge of the project for 17 Rue de Hollerich was to create high-quality social housing in a rather unfavourable urban context. The plot of land in question is situated in a semi-industrial neighbourhood in the outskirts of Luxembourg City on one of its main entrance roads. This compact building is six storeys high and is part of the general urban development plan of Luxembourg City, trying to integrate this part of the town into its urban context. The street facade, some 70 m long and facing north, is exposed to the noise and pollution of traffic, whereas the rear side is illuminated and benefits from a respectable depth of building ground.

The area behind the main building offers a lot of space with an inclination of almost the height of a storey. Keeping it horizontal from its highest point, a generous garden area can be offered, separated from the main building by an inner courtyard but connected to the first floor via two footbridges. Beneath the garden area, a second building (one storey) offers space for offices, while the rear area is used as a two-storey underground car park.

Living in dignity in the Rue de Hollerich becomes possible thanks to this green area and the fact that on the street front the apartments only start on the third floor and are equipped with special soundproof windows and a mechanical ventilation system. The ground floor facing the street offers space for stores, while the first floor contains offices and the second is dedicated to the circulation within the building. The backside of the main building gives space for offices on the ground and first floor with views over the inner courtyard. On this side, the apartments start on the second floor and offer a direct view over the garden.

The garden front, enveloped in a wood siding of natural cedar, has a much more plastic expression since it reflects the relationship of living in a building with a garden with its shadows and lights, and the heat of the sun. Its geometry is no longer bound to the urban strictness of the area, but it develops a dialogue with the secondary building and garden. In addition, its geometry and the large windows compensate for the absence of balconies.

Steel cladding: A resistant filter

The street facade, clad in glass and red bent metal siding (Ressac® by ArcelorMittal), is the filter between public space and the superposition of vertical urban life. The choice of metal comes from the desire to provide a 'self-cleaning' material, non-degradable to pollution, and strong enough in its architectural expression to assert itself and bring a touch of colour into its industrial surroundings.

Steel structure: Flexibility, cost efficiency, & fire safety

The versatility of steel could once more be proven in this mixed-use project as it offers attractive and economic solutions for all types of applications present in this building. Furthermore, steel allows for an extensive array of solutions for economic fire-resistant steel structures for residential and commercial functions as well as car parks, and at the same time guarantees flexibilty, aesthetics, durability, and competitiveness.

Thanks to the metal structure, the architects were given great freedom in choosing the dimensions between the load bearing axes. Thus, they were able to offer, with the same rigorous distribution, apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms for up to six people.

The use of steel permits the columns to be notably thinner than concrete ones and the fact that the beams were integrated into the slabs plays a significant role in the reduced size of some bedrooms due to the current standards for social housing. Big windows that rise to the ceiling not only provide very well lit rooms, but also make them appear larger.

Fire safety was calculated according to the principle of the Natural Fire Concept, which allowed for the use of bare, elegant steel columns in the strategic areas of the project.

As a collaborator in this pioneering project, ArcelorMittal not only supplied the structural steel sections, but also contributed to the structural design and fire safety calculations.

Addition information

• 40 apartments (8 duplex): 3115 m²
• shops: 355 m²
• offices: 1070 m²
• State archive: 945 m²
• 55 parking spaces: 2060 m²
• space for 40 bikes: 75 m²
• reserved parking: 730 m²

Steel in Tonnes (1270 tonnes):
• metal structure: 625 tonnes
• reinforcement for concrete: 645 tonnes

Steel facade: 690 m²
Estimated costs (all incl.): 12 412 000 EUR

Project information

  • Luxembourg City
  • Luxembourg
  • Architect
    Diane Heirend and Philippe Schmit
  • 2001-2010
  • Client
    Fonds pour le développement du logement et de l'habitat
  • Engineering office
    B.E.S.T. ing. conseils (civil engineering)
    ArcelorMittal, CTICM (consultant)
    J.S.M (technical engineering)
  • Photographers
    Gilles Martin, ArcelorMittal
    Bohumil Kostohryz, Diane Heirend Architects