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, as this growth came to be known, resulted in an urban core hollowed of residential spaces as many Brusselaars moved to the city’s outer neighborhoods.
Our vision for the transformation of the De Brouckere block at Brussels’ central Place de Brouckere will bring 48,000m2 of commercial, residential, hotel, and green space to the Belgian capital, furthering the potential and preserving the character of the historical site.
De Brouckère 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. A large 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, anchors the buildings at ground level.
The design for the block balances the architectural heritage of Brussels’s grand baroque structures with its contemporary approach to style and scale. While the iconic row of 19th-century facades lining the Place de Brouckère will remain, fronting new construction behind, the remaining three facades will take on a more contemporary, modular approach, shifting every 18-20 meters to link the design to the human scale.
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 frames a new outlook on urban life.
De Brouckère is being developed in collaboration with Brussels-based studio a2rc and developers Immobel Group and BPI. Construction is expected to begin in 2021, with a projected completion date set for 2024.