Archive for July, 2007

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Brussels west ring road

July 15, 2007

A few weeks ago voices arose about the development of the small ring road on the west of the city centre of Brussels, between the Sainctelettesquare and the Porte de Ninove. Or should I say “public voices arose”? In fact the press release came some weeks prior to the delivery of a building permit. I did some research about the project and found the project description.

West Ring Road, Brussels

The study is effectuated by the Leuven based company, BUUR (Bureau voor Urbanisme cvba), a young and dynamic research company in the domain of urbanism and urban planning. The works on the Brussels west ring road will start later on this year and incorporate a new promenade alongside the canal, a new footbridge and most appealingmore space for public transport and for people to walk. I’m not quite sure if I can shouw you these pictures in a legal way, but I see this more as the promotion of the owner’s work towards a wider public. If there’s any remark, please be so kind to contact me!

New Situational Plan

Brussels mayor Freddy Thielemans sees the new development as a chance to re-unite the city centre of Brussels with its neighbour, Molenbeek, and to involve the waterfront in the experience of the city. I see the development as a first start to valorize the canal’s surroundings, while a study lead by the same company to develop the north zone on the upper side of the ring road, especially the development of the former industrial site Thurn & Taxis, was started earlier this year. The study consists of setting up a new master plan for the site and some general research about the sites possibilities.

Persepective Proposal

The west ring road, between Sainctelette and the Ninoofse Poort, links up with the spontaneous development of the Dansaert district, that houses famous design and fashion shops. In fact, at larger notice the district could cope with a rise of rent, and such this could shift from a quite poor to a high standing quarter. Depends on the further development…

Perspective Proposal (2)

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Astro Tower Refurbishment

July 14, 2007

Astro Tower Brussels (2011-2013) While doing research on the public area in Brussels City, I found some interesting news – at least it’s new to me. The last few years not more than 9 high-rise buildings were rebuilt or refurbished in town. The last one is the Tower of Finance, due for 2008. But today I discovered plans for the refurbishment of the Astro Tower.

The Astro Tower is situated north west of the city centre, between Botanique and Madou and is actualy owned by the Dutch bank company Fortis. In 2006, a study for the renovation was held by the Belgian architects office Jaspers & Partners. It’s not that I have anything against Jaspers, but it seems to me that ambition is to be found far away here in Brussels when it comes to architecture. Of all refurbishments, Jaspers achieved over 50 percent! Anyway, due to a lack of ambition (as I call it), the refurbisment will commence in 2011 and will be completed in 2013. With its 110m, it will then be the amongst the 10 highest towers on the Brussel’s skyline.

Back in 2000, former Brussels mayor François-Xavier de Donnea prohibited buildings to become taller in the future. The aim was to clear the view from the balcony of the City Hall so that no high-rise would be perceptible. The battle for refurbishment was at stake, but with no real architectural competitions, it became nothing more than an update that would change nothing about this city space, and so it did – or did not, depends the nuance.

But some weeks – may it be months – ago the question of new high-rise buildings in the European District here in Brussels was quoted once more. I’ll bring that up within a few days (weeks).

Below a photo before and (likely) after :

Astro Tower, Brussels (2011-2013)

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Metro Brussels 2020 (part 2)

July 13, 2007

“Metronet 2020″

A while ago I wrote about a political leaflet I recieved from the Brussels liberal party, openVLD in their battle for the federal elections. One of their aims was that, if they would become elected, they want to realize a new “underground revolution”. It seemed to me more as an attempt to bring up again the never realized wild plans from the 70s to create a dense network.

But in an article that apeared today in the Brussels newspaper “Brussel Deze Week” chances towards an extension are reinforced. The party (openVLD) would like to realize 52 kilometer of new subway lines. An investment that would cost 3 billion euros! Entitled Minister of Public Works, Pascal Smet is not very keen on realizing these plans, as he finds the tramway a better alternative to the subway system.

It’s all a case of money, but chances are high that the subway traffic will be expanded in the following decade(s). Especially the new development alongside the canal (Thurn & Taxis) will probably be desserved by a new metro line…

Below, I’ve add the original plans of the MIVB (society of public transports Brussels) to establish an extensive metro network in Brussels. As you can see on this map, 8 lines would cross the city in the year 2000.

metronet 2000 (MIVB)

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soon salon

July 10, 2007

The Noir Collection (by Rachel de Joode)

A few months ago we recieved a question to catagorize all possible patterns in architecture and in daily life. With the thorough analysis we then created an architectural intervention, be it structural, optical or technical…

Back then, I came across the wallpaper collection of Rachel de Joode. She’s a photographer, studied at the Rietveld Academy, and does mainly fashion and styling.

Her wallpaper collection consists of details of fashion photographs. Through the repitition and mirroring of the ladies and gents on the photos, the wall finally gets a surreal “neo” Art-Deco look, giving the volume it surrounds a  spatial  experience.

There’s a video-clip about the collection and a website featuring all available prints.

http://www.soonsalon.com/content/collectie_rachel.html
http://www.soonsalon.com/content/collectie_rachel_the_noir_collection_film.html 
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New blog…

July 10, 2007

This will be my blog for the following months.

I used to create and edit my blog with Apple’s iWeb but it seemed too slow to update my blog on a regular basis. I experienced it as a very nice program to create custom websites even though some people said that it’s childish and not easily customizable.

It’s true, especially the widgets and scripts made it quite a mess. And the scripts – like the StarIt rating system – let me down, slowing down my blog enormously. Sorry for that! But I must say that iWeb still is a very powerful yet easy to use web-design program.

Before starting up and customizing my blog entirely myself, I will be using this mediocre WordPress standard lay-out, bringing you more of the same; articles and photos on my city – Brussels, on architecture, design and photography. I will try to focus myself some more on these four items, but when I find some interesting or just some fun stuff, I’ll post it anyway.

Also, I moved all previous messages to this new blog, so feel free to add comments as you wish!

Enjoy and feel at home!