Archive for the ‘demolition’ Category


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) :


bssl: rogier square / rogierplein

May 27, 2007

Rogier Square by XDG Architects

Well, let me tell you a little more on the past, the present and the future of the Rogier Square in the centre of Brussels. A few years ago, as I mentioned in “image of the week #001” (read more…), the Modernist icon of Brussels, which was the ancient Rogier Tower, was destroyed and replaced by the actual Dexia Tower. As with the most recent manifestation and sports arenas, these new high rise buildings are most oftenly named after their investors. Seems like the Brussels sky becomes dominated by bank and insurance companies, though… Let me remind you of an old postcard photograph taken around 1910. It shows the Rogier Square with the North Station, a gigantesque Haussmann style building. Later on, in 1952, the Belgian rail company

North Station, Brussels, anno 1910. North Station, before the great works in 1952.

created a link between the two stations Brussels North and Brussels Midi, under the identity of a tunnel cutting the city of brussels in two parts. The North Station was displaced some 500m up to the north. Therefore, the old station was demolished and a new one rebuilt, the one we still know…

1958, the year of the World Exposition in Brussels, mostly known as the year the Atomium was built in, but it was also the year of completion of the Rogier Tower. Most of you who knew the tower, remeber it as the Martini Tower with its spinning Mercedes logo on the roof top. It was a 21 storey building unioning appartments, shops, offices and a theatre, all in one building. But the Modernist building, designed as a town in town,

Rogier Tower back in the eighties… Rogier Tower during the destruction (anno 2001)

drowned slowly to clear the spot for a monofunctional and ignorant glass office building. The curved balconies, the particular base upon which the quite slim tower was posed… they were demolished stone by stone back in 2001. A document from 2001 reminds me of the discussion about the protection of the building. But finally the discussion concerned the aesthetics of the to be constructed tower and owner Immobel decided to replace the Modernist icon with an example of how it shouldn’t be. Samyn together with Jaspers

Early computer model, 2002 (Samyn & Partners NV.) Computer model, 2002 (Samyn & Partners)

designed a new office building with a geometrical base grid, based on the city grid of the surrounding streets. The back of the building is said to be conciped with “respect to the outline of the street”, but i did not found any explication on the slope of the glazed roof. The architect describes that there’s to be found a landscape office, and that the “main lines of the plan are parallel to the layout of the North neighbourhood, while acknowledging the other angles in the perspective of the site”… Understood?!

Rogier Square Proposal, 2005, by SeARCH, BAS and BUUR with Jaume Plensa Rogier Square Proposal, 2005, by SeARCH, BAS and BUUR with Jaume Plensa

Together with the process of building a new tower, questions of rebuilding the Rogier Square arose the public opinion. A first attempt was that of Clerbaux & Pinon, a Brussels based project office. They had been asked by the city of St-Joost (the actual town the square is localized in…) to design the new suare. The project was kept secret until the first publication. Brussels minister Pascal Smet replied immediately, together with a immense base of the public opinion, with unbelief and set up a design competition whereout 5 international teams were selected. One in particular was the proposal of SeARCH / BAS / BUUR together with the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. Their proposal featured a huge transparent man that would be an art object creating a soul to the square and her surroundings. It’s my favourite proposal, because of the potential regarding an artistical experience the project seem to include…

Rogier Square Proposal, 2003, by Clerbaux & Pinon Rogier Square Proposal, 2003, by Clerbaux & Pinon

Finally, the winning company was revealed : XDGA, the research and architecture bureau of the Belgian architect Xavier De Geyter is going to design the new Square. The new project features an enormous glass structure that links different spaces with the square. The glass will reflect the underground of the metro station and the shopping area as well as the surroundings of the square. I’m highly enthousiast and excited to see this project completed at the end of 2009. I have no clue when the building works will start, but it’s my educating task to inform you about that! To be continued…

Rogier Square, Computer model, 2005, by XDGA. Rogier Square, Computer model, 2005, by XDGA.
Rogier Square, Computer model, 2005, by XDGA.

Links + images :


img of the week #001

May 23, 2007


Img#001 - Demolition of the International Rogier Centre, Brussels, 2001-2002.


From now on and on a weekly basis, I will present you images with an architectural importance, with a particular meaning. Images that mean something to me, or images that show something I feel trhe need to share.


The first image is a series of photographs taken between june 2001 and june 2002. It shows the demolition of the Brussels International Rogiercentre, which has nowdays been replaced with a new skyscraper. The building had been built in 1958, the year of the World Exposition, and had become an icon for the city. Influenced by thoughts of Le Corbusier, it was Brussel’s first building of a comparable height that combined living, working and entertainment and therefore was a symbol of the brave urban and architectural Modernity of the fifties and sixties in the heart of the city.The demolition also reinforces the tendency of modern buildings to be replaced instead of to be (re-)appreciated. Going back in time, the Rogiercentre had replaced the old North station in neorenaissance style…