Arc en Ciel in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode

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How a small school in densely populated Brussels creates space for itself – especially on the roof.

Label Architecture expanded “Arc en Ciel” with four classrooms and new outdoor areas. The roof areas played a special role in this.

Located in the midst of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode – the neighborhood with the highest population density in Belgium – the already crowded school and daycare centre “Arc en Ciel” wanted to increase its capacity with extra classrooms along with new outdoor spaces.

The internal organisation allows  to gather an ensemble of smaller functions and to turn them into two big classrooms on each floor. Furthermore, the duplication of the existing facade creates a new circulation, avoids an enfilade of classes and provides extra storage space for the pupils.

The existing gap between the buildings was closed by adding a storey with new classrooms.

Moreover, the new facade drastically improves the overall thermal performance of the building.

These same tactics are applied to provide more outdoor space for the school. By inserting a concrete structure, the ground surface of the playground is doubled.

This “table” covers a collection of playground equipment on the ground floor, while its roof is used as an enclosed sports field.

Arc en Ciel now has some exceptional qualities to offer. Above all, the two large outdoor areas are a clear response to a dense environment.

On the corner, the cavity between the two buildings is filled with the addition of 4 new classrooms. The existing staircase is extended to giving access to the new level and its roofsurface.

Here, accompagnied by an impressive view on Brussels, the daycare centre finds its new outdoor space and presents itself to the neighborhood.

We did this.

Project data


Label Architecture
Rue de Flandre 121
BEL – 1000 Brussels


Municipality of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode


JZH & Partners


Arc en Ciel
Rue de l’Abondance 17
BEL – 1210 Saint-Josse-ten-Noode




Stijn Bollaert


Label Architecture


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