Architecture firms Neutelings Riedijk Architects and Bureau Bouwtechniek have come together to create a picturesque multi-use space by converting a 20th century railway station in the heart of Brussels.
As part of the ambitious Tour & Taxi development – a development project by Brussels-based real estate developer Extensa – Brussel’s Gare Maritime has been given a breath of new life.
Old meets new
The wider development as a whole aims to combine the past and the present of Brussels to create new spaces for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. Gare Maritime was once the largest railway station used for goods in the whole of Europe, its transformation making it again a destination, but now for the general public. This new space created almost a mini city in itself, incorporating a mixed shopping and working space. As Neutelings Riedijk Architects themselves explain, it’s “a city where it never rains,” allowing visitors to enjoy the development year-round.
Under the side isles, twelve new pavilions create a structure of internal boulevards, parks and squares, mirroring the urban context of the site. With the large central space for public events, this space is designed to be transformed and used in a variety of ways, staying flexible and relevant for years to come.
The new pavilions were constructed from Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), the use of which results in a huge reduction of the amount of cement that needs to be used. The prefabrication of these CLT elements and the dry constructing method additionally cuts down significantly on the construction time, allowing for a more eco-friendly production process. In fact, Gare Maritime is now the largest Cross Laminated Timber project in Europe.
Its glass facades are fitted with solar cells, with additional solar panels fixed on the roofs. Sustainability measures have been incorporated wherever possible, including geothermal energy and reuse of rainwater. Completely energy-neutral and fossil-free, Gare Maritime is a lesson in how future construction can be more environmentally conscious.