Valentina Carrara Architects Office
Valentina Carrara Architects is a Brussels-based architecture practice founded by Valentina Carrara in 2007.
We are a small team of expert and committed people, able to respond to every project’s need from the initial sketch to the execution.
We are specialized in the process of integration between OLD and NEW. Our work in the field of Patrimony rehabilitation is not just about restoration or renovation. It is about giving a new identity to an existing building. Until the 18th century, monuments and cities have been built according to the society needs of the time without any particular issue; whereas nowadays the architectural patrimony of a city often becomes an obstacle.
Valentina Carrara Architects mission is to find a new balance between preserving the past and building the future.
With respect to this, we’ve had the chance to lead major rehabilitation project on the site of Tour&Taxis, like the famous “Salle de guichets” of the ancient Hôtel de la Poste or the marvelous “Quai aux poissons” structure.
We do not embalm the past but on the opposite we keep it alive and let it evolve to embrace the future. Our initial approach to a historical building – such as a depot, a Brussels house from 1920 – can be compared to a search into a woman’s wardrobe: What is worth to be kept? What can be converted? What must be thrown away and how? Can I recycle the waste into something new for the building?
This particular approach sometimes leads us to unexpected results: Your building has unexpected capacities.
It can rebound. It is resilient.
Through the acquired deep knowledge of the different architectonical periods (art nouveau, art deco, modernism, post-modernism) at Valentina Carrara Architects we have developed a peculiar approach.
A building is like a living creature and it can evolve together with the people. We speak about extension architecture. It is much more rewarding to preserve an old building by giving it a new value rather than simply renovating it.
Our approach is to give a new identity to old buildings through extension, transformations and reuse of the existing space.
We have lead residential and industrial renovation but we can also go further.
At Valentina Carrara Architects, we have developed a deep knowledge in the technique through which it is possible to raise up existing buildings. We have therefore created the BruxUP Project, which consists of rising up the typical Brussels houses with wood construction.
This project gives a concrete answer to the issue of the cities’ densification through the valorization of the rooftops.
Read more about this in the BruxUP section.
We love interior decoration as well! Our interior projects are studied with attention to the finest detail.
We design all our interiors ourselves: from furniture (kitchens, bathroom furniture) to lighting fittings (we design prototype that can be realized) but we can also accompany the clients in their choices related to interior decoration.
Originally from Milan but adopted by Brussels, Valentina holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the Politecnico of Milan and a Master’s Degree in Architecture Engineering from the Faculté Polytechnique de Mons.
Having studied in both Italian and French, Valentina is perfectly bi-lingual. However, she has also been working in English and Dutch.
Her multicultural background nourishes her work with a broad and international perspective.
About Valentina Carrara
“I grew up in Milan surrounded by design culture since my childhood. When I moved to Brussels I fell in love with the city. Brussels is like New York in the beginning of the XX century, where you could feel everything was “possible”.
What fascinates me the most of Brussels is its architectural patrimony, both industrial and residential. In particular, Brussels “belle époque” houses, examples of rare beauty and craftsmanship.
The renovation project of the dismissed industrial site of Tour&Taxis was a crucial turning point of my career. This project gave me the chance to carry out significant rehabilitation and renovation works. Moreover, this experience inspired a deep reflection on how to give new identity to the residential Brussels patrimony while respecting its intrinsic value.
I’m passionate about my work which I consider a mission rather that a work. Architects are to buildings like doctors with patients: we care for them, we always think how we can make them live longer and in good conditions.”
Present and past collaborators:
Fanny Wattier, Architect
Rossella Previtera, Architect
Stefania Tornatore, Architect
Serena Conti, Architect
Elena Vaccaro, artist and photographer
Titti Mirabella, Architect
Cecilia Carrara, Interior designer
Paloma Cabeza, photographer
Securisan, PEB & safety and security