Henning Larsen has unveiled its vision for an urban transformation project facing Brussels’ bustling Place De Brouckère, bringing 48,000 m2 of commercial, residential, hotel and green space to the Belgian capital. The scheme will expand the huge potential of the historical site, preserving the recognizable character of the area while introducing new communities for living and working.
Reclaiming an urban area formerly dominated by corporate offices, Brouck’R will unify city living and working in a single, central city block that opens onto the grand Place de Brouckère. The design for the block balances the architectural heritage of Brussels’s grand Belle Epoque structures with a contemporary approach to style and scale.
Bringing Public Life Back to the Center
Place de Brouckère, located within the Brussels’ central Pentagon, was once a bustling pedestrian plaza but fell out of popular use as the city emphasized automobile and large-scale construction projects in the mid-20th century. The “Brusselization” of the city resulted in an urban core hollowed of residential spaces as many Brusselaars moved to the city’s outer neighborhoods.
Brouck’R expands on successful local efforts to pedestrianize and re-center civic life in Brussels’ urban core, wrapping an entire block with apartments and student accommodations at a scale largely unseen in the city center. The design comprises 311 new residences, divided between typical apartment and student-geared accommodations (see facts below.)
The courtyard at the building’s center will be a green oasis for the residents, with gardens at the ground level and trellises/green walls that climb upwards along the south and west internal facades. Commercial and retail program, which makes up nearly a quarter of the development, will anchor the buildings at ground level.
Negotiating Heritage and the Future
Brouck’R’s four facades each face different urban conditions; the iconic row of 19th-century facades lining the Place de Brouckère will remain, fronting new construction behind. The remaining three façades will appear continuous, broken down into modules that change every 18-20 meters, an approach that links the design to walking pace, rather than at the speed of traffic.
A variety of brick construction types to reduce the scale of the massing. Looking up, the building’s upper floors will be clad in slim, light-colored material that visually marks not just a difference in program types but in living styles. Where the brick-clad apartments that comprise the bulk of the residential program visually link to the surrounding context, the block’s cloud-like top suggests a new outlook on urban life.
Brouck’R will rise in concert with Brussels’ expanding pedestrian zone, establishing a new community in the city center dedicated to street-level activity. Construction on Brouck’R is expected to commence in mid-2021 and reach completion in 2024. Source by Henning Larsen Architects.
- Location: Brussels. Belgium
- Architect: Henning Larsen Architects
- Local Architect: a2rc
- Developers: BPI Real Estate and Immobel
- Programme: total 40,400 m² (182 apartments, 129 student rooms, Hotel with 145 rooms, Office building of 8,840m2, 3,220m2 retail space)
- Start of construction: Summer 2021
- Estimated completion date: Mid 2024
- Images: Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects