Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

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A peek on the future Schuman Station

December 9, 2007

schuman 1

schuman 3

It has been a while since the last post, but I’ve got plenty of new ideas to post!

I’d like to start with a first brief preview on the metamorphosis of the Schuman station in Brussels. This station actually situated behind the Berlaymont Building will be extended to be one of the largest main subway stations in town. The station will serve the existing train station, the renovated subway station and the new train station that is nowdays being built under the rue de la Loi / Wetstraat, between the Berlaymont Building and the Residence Palace (near the Schuman Square). The new station will be situated at the end (start) of the brand new RER-rail tunnel Schuman-Josaphat. The platforms of the new RER-station will rest upon the existing subway station in order to create a higly inter-modal junction.

schuman 2 schuman 4
From an architectural point of view, this new complex aims to pay a lot of attention to the practical organization and the incidence of light in order to provide a comfortable way of transfer between the new RER/GEN suburb railway system, the subway system and the inter-city train system. Remarkable is the new glass roof that will flank the exit of the tunnel used by cars and that actually attracts daylight into the subway station.

The subway station, a realization of “W.J. & M.C. Van Campenhout” will shortly be overhauled and will incorporate both subway and trains in the same space.

The information used for this article comes from the newsletter “GEN-krant” edited by the NMBS/SNCB-BELIRIS.

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Thurn & Taxis update

November 3, 2007

T&T Developent (2007)

Computer image courtesy of Ateliers LION, architectes & urbanistes, Paris.

Some time passed since the latest update on the Thurn & Taxis site development in Brussels. This ancient industrial site close to the city centre harboured once the Belgian Royal Warehouses. Due to the opening of European borders and the evolution of transport, the site was put for sale in the late 80’s and became abandoned little by little.

An early development project at the beginning of the year 2000 proposed “Music City”. This was a project that foreseed the reconversion of the Royal Depots into a huge concert hall. As far as I remember there were concerns on the roof structure that wasn’t protected yet back then. The project met with lots of opposition and got abandoned.

In 2001, Robelco and Lease Invest mounted a joined venture named T&T. The hunting for a new development was open. They attracted study and design teams to effect a thorough feasability study. And today we know the results of that study. The picture below shows a rendering picture containing some early lines of force for the developement of the site. Basically, nothing will happen there at all! It’s just a 13 in a dozen drawing with some greenery fields – call it “a parc”. A pity they did not portray the cows and sheep…

The humble tower at the upper south of the site (upper right) is nothing but a down toning of the ambitious visions of specialized teams around well known architecture critics. Well – honestly – it’s not from a big “promotor” that we should expect architectural statements – at the utmost some modern commercial rubbish. That’s why I already proclaim the Brussel’s Tour & Taxis / Thurn & Tassis site tis decade’s flop!

Comments are welcome…

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Schweitzer Square Blog

September 22, 2007

Schweitzer (P.M.)

Since I joined B612associates last week, I was working on the project of the Schweitzer Square renewal in Brussels. Wheather you live in Berchem (Brussels) or elsewhere, you probably have already seen some press releases on the project.

In this post I would like to make you aware that we at B612 mounted a blog which contains the latest information on the project. The main purpose of this blog is to encourage the participation of all different groups involved in the square’s renewal. Next monday, 22 september, we organize some workshops together with YOTA. The workshops are open for all inhabitants and commercants in Berchem. You’re all invited. Find out more on the programme at http://www.b612.be/schweitzer/

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Delhaize & Cie.

August 5, 2007

Delhaize & Cie

Yesterday, I promised you some pictures of the Delhaize Storehouse alongside the canal in Brussels. Well, today was a beautiful day for some pictures.

Delhaize & Cie.

Window transom by Arch. Paul Cauchie (anno. 1912)

Delhaize & Cie.

The Brussel’s association “Pétitions Patrimoine” organized a petition back in 2006 for the buildings to be preserved. As I told, the door and window transoms are decorated by Paul Cauchie, the well known Belgian art-nouveau architect and painter. The sgraffitis are nevertheless in a very bad shape, as is the building itself. But, some efforts were taken to try to preserve the building; nowdays it’s being inhabitated by a sort of caretaker.

According to Alain Boucher (Pétitions Patrimoine), the Delhaize buildings are property of a private project developer and they would be able to freely decide whether to keep or demolish the entire site.

As with the modernistic Citroën buildings, some 500m further down the same road, the Delhaize Warehouse is subject of a study which foresees the replacement of the buildings with high-rise mixed use buildings (see “New Brussels Tower”). In my opinion, the possible expansion of the north quarter alongside the canal that in fact has already begun with the approval of the building permit for the new open-air swimming pool and an agreement about the future of the industrial site Thurn & Taxis, is an irreversible process which involves too much money to guarantee the salvation of this valuable but visibly scarred site.

Here’s a link to the video clip (in Dutch/French) :
http://www.brusselnieuws.be/site/rubrieken/1091053933/page.htm?&newsID=1162833469#

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“New Brussels” Competition

August 4, 2007

New Brussels Towers

Quite some time ago, the real estate group Atenor nv. offered a prize for the competition for a new building complex along the canal in the Brussels North district. I did some research and came across a proposition by Conix Architects, the Antwerp based middle-sized bureau that was in charge for the Atomium renovation. I didn’t find any other participants yet… The project dated from 2005 but is in my opinion only an exercise for the future use of the area.

New Brussels Towers

The twin towers, each having a different height, should serve as a new landmark for the area and such, for the city of Brussels, create a mixed content of industrial and urban beauty. The towers have a mixed use, providing offices and appartments on the higher levels, and shops, restaurants, bars, etc.. on the lower levels. The high building will also simulate a bodily scale, with voids and public spaces on the ground level. An esplanade with pavillions will allow a dynamic connection with a new walking area alongside the canal (which, in my opinion is very likely to be managed within the next decade!) at the Akenkaai.

Till date, there seems to be a problem, though. On the one hand, the “Sint Lucas Archive” tries to protect the historic Delhaize Storehouses, that should be demolished for the towers to arise. On the other hand, the city council, wants to get rid of the warehouses, but don’t seem to get a building permit… The only thing I know, is that the warehouses have valuable door-transoms above the entrance doors and even above the windows, by the Belgian art-nouveau architect Paul Cauchie. I’ll make a photoseries in a while. It might be worth a lot in let’s say 20 years 🙂

Also, acoording to an article in the Brussel’s newspaper “Brussel Deze Week” back in 2006, the old storehouses seem to provoke quite some squabble between Brussels politicians. Let’s wait and see how it will end, because since then, i didn’t hear a lot about the project any more…

Visit http://www.conixarchitecten.be/ 

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Cityscape by Quinze

August 3, 2007

Cityscape

Yesterday, in an interview on fmbrussel, the Belgian artist Arne Quinze presented his latest work that will rise alongside the Av. du Troison d’Or, between the Louiza Square and the Porte de Namur. The mega structure will have quite some resemblance with the sculpture he and his team created in the Nevade Desert, some years ago. The installation will be unique; it consists of a wooden structure, mounted on 40 giant pillars. The structure’s giantness means : 40m by 25m, 18m tall. The installation represents a dynamic wave that rediates a certain force and will try to revaluate the Louisa neighborhood upper town. It will stand there for one year.

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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)