Transformation of a blockade into an urban space changerCategory: CARBON NEUTRAL DESIGN, HIGH-RISE, OFFICE, RENOVATION
Whitewood Holding bvba
Renovation of a unilateral office building in pursuit of a variety of goals
Gross Surface Area
approx. 44,200 m²
approx. 58.495.834 euro (excl. VAT)
This assignment pursues the transformation of a modernistic tower (1969) in the centre of Brussels from a unilateral office building into a multi-faceted construction with added public value. The renovation has become a catalyst for creating a pedestrian zone that connects public spaces in the area. The building is being transformed from a heavy, black box into a bright, transparent and inviting construction.
The ambitions for MULTI (the new name for the Brouckère tower) include current and relevant projects, pursued through a thorough investigation into spatial and social context. By understanding the current role and the potential of the building, the new project has been proposed as an ‘Urban Platform’. The project serves as a connection between the different surrounding neighbourhoods.
MULTI is an exponent of ‘Brusselisation’ and a part of the Manhattan project an urban planning project for Brussels in the 1960s. Investigations into the current performance and potential of the existing building in the areas of sustainability and transformability have led to the creation of a high-performance, city-living project. As an ‘Urban Platform’ and ‘Urban Connector’, the project aspires to support and strengthen the creation of the pedestrian zone. This is possible by maximising public access through the building, updating a number of public places and their potential—such as the urban terraces and city gardens—and by establishing the open spaces around the building as valuable public areas with character.
To be established as a supported, socially relevant project that responds to current urban demands, we followed an emblematic approach. Transparent dialogue, design-minded research, sustainability studies (BREEAM) and reusability are central focal points.
The MULTI project has been selected as one of the laureates for ‘Be Exemplary 2017. It is for the reassignment of an emblematic, contemporary office building that links public space with an accessible city platform. It is a large-scale reconversion that overcomes a number of major urban challenges: the reassignment of an emblematic, modern office building, the creation of a connecting link by vividly opening the lower storeys, and by reinforcing the building’s attachment to the public space via an accessible city platform. The project has set itself ambitious and stringent goals in regards to reuse, with as many components as possible from the original building being retained in the renewal. The ambition of large-scale reuse is innovative and serves as an example for other projects of a similar nature. A key to the success is the involvement of partners active in the circular economy from the very start of the preliminary design stages.