• Carrefour de l’Europe

    Carrefour de l’Europe 2
    • Bxlekp_300ppi_klein_xraymaquet
    • Carrefour de l’Europe

      More than four centuries of urban transformation between the St Michael’s Cathedral and Mont des Arts have failed to keep up with the changing significance of this location. For a long time this area functioned as a link between the upper and lower city: the first one corresponding with the medieval commercial Brussels and the second with the modern power – centres of Brussels, with its typical axis’ and vistas. The whole area has a history of quick successions of alterations, one change very often being the negation of the previous one. During the 20th century several interventions connected the area with the hinterland. Those successive additions of new infrastructures (the North–South railway junction, the Central Station, the urban clearway, a multilevel car park and the metro system) changed the identity of the district on regular intervals and transformed it into one of the biggest transit zones in Belgium. Individual buildings were added to the new infrastructure, leaving an ocean of undefined open spaces between them.

      A series of new spaces were created underground – partly new programs, partly leftovers from the new infrastructure. That open space was appropriated in turn in the 1980s for the construction of hotels – freestanding, once again. The residual urban space was rendered even seedier than it had been before. The competition that prompted our project called for that space to be redeveloped. Our proposal took the existing, solitary buildings and the non-constructed area and merged them with new infrastructure and construction to form a ‘superblock’ with the Central Station as its heart. The Boulevard de l’Impératrice is branched off into surrounding streets and car parks and public space within the block are focused into a chain of existing and new spaces.

      More than four centuries of urban transformation between the St Michael’s Cathedral and Mont des Arts have failed to keep up with the changing significance of this location. For a long time this area functioned as a link between the upper and lower city: the first one corresponding with the medieval commercial Brussels and the second with the modern power – centres of Brussels, with its typical axis’ and vistas. The whole area has a history of quick successions of alterations, one change very often being the negation of the previous one. During the 20th century several interventions connected the area with the hinterland. Those successive additions of new infrastructures (the North–South railway junction, the Central Station, the urban clearway, a multilevel car park and the metro system) changed the identity of the district on regular intervals and transformed it into one of the biggest transit zones in Belgium. Individual buildings were added to the new infrastructure, leaving an ocean of undefined open spaces between them.

    • 011_Europa-Crossing_urban-diagram with
    • © XDGA
    • © XDGA
    • 9_6_model BIRDSEYE
    • 1997 / 1998011 Carrefour de l’Europe

      Competition / 1st prize ex-aequo,

      CityBrussels

      Programurban development plan for a new public area around Central Station

      Year1997 / 1998

      ProcedureCompetition / 1st prize ex-aequo

      ClientCity of Brussels

      Total floor area140.619 m² (existing) + 225.023 m² (new)

      PhotographsHans Werlemann