Green light for transformation of historic building on Beursplein Brussels

The redevelopment of the large-scale retail and office building Bourse Center in the heart of Brussels has been given the green light. The architectural firm Coussée Goris Huyghe has created the design for the conversion of the historic building into a multifunctional building of 21,000 m.2 with retail, restaurants, offices and housing.

The transformation of the building, located on the corner of Beursplein and Anspachlaan, means not only an upgrade of the building itself, but also of the surroundings. The project is closely linked to the redevelopment of the surrounding public space. The city of Brussels has been working for some time on a qualitative improvement of the central avenues and the expansion of the pedestrian street.

Historic department store
VDD Project Development and Vervoordt re, who are jointly responsible for the remodeling of the building, have given the project the name The Dome. The team refers to the distinctive copper roof dome on the corner of the building, which was originally built in the 1870s and housed Belgium’s first department store, Les Grands Magasins de la Bourse.

In 1948 the building suffered extensive damage in a fire and in 1970 the building was converted into a shop and office building with the name Bourse Center. The Brussels Region sold the building in 2018 with the aim of giving the building a multifunctional use and a renewed cachet that it had lost during the last renovation.

Contemporary Haussmann
Coussée Goris Huyghe’s design is a contemporary interpretation of Haussmannian architecture, which characterizes the central avenues. The agency strives for a new strong architectural identity for The Dome. The architects emphasize the vertical facade elements and replace the mansard roof with slender, also strongly vertical dormers.

The design also introduces balconies under the eaves and the canopy has a powerful design. Historically valuable elements, such as the dome, are given extra emphasis. The contrast between the contemporary architecture and the historical elements – in the building and in the immediate vicinity – should give The Dome a distinctive character and strengthen the lighthouse’s domed lighthouse function.

Mixed program
The plinth opens maximally to interact with the surrounding public space. As in the period of Les Grands Magasins de la Bourse, the ground floor and first floor will be used for retail. Agreements have already been made with the food court concept Eataly and with Delhaize – which will also use the basement – ​​for 3,500 m, respectively.2 and 2,200 m2.

On the second, third and fourth floors, 7,500 m2 intended as office space. The offices are connected by a glass atrium in the heart of the building and a roof garden. On the fifth to eighth floor, 55 rental apartments with an area between 38 m2 and 105 m2 will be built according to a co-living concept.

This means that the compact apartments are offered in combination with various facilities and common areas, such as relaxation areas, roof terraces and gardens. The developers say the concept provides a response to the growing demand for affordable, sustainable and efficient living as a result of rising property prices and demographic developments.

Sustainable technology and slow traffic
According to the parties involved, the project is strongly committed to sustainability and ecology. For example, circular construction and the use of solar panels, heat pumps and maximum recovery of the produced heat and cooling are chosen.

The particularly strong focus on slow traffic is striking: the building will have 144 parking spaces for (loading) bicycles and only five spaces for shared electric cars. They are aiming for a BREEAM Excellent certificate for the project.

Selection
The team of VDD Project Development and Vervoordt re, with the design by Coussée Goris Huyghe, was selected following a call from MSI, the Brussels Urban Planning Company. The Brussels government architect, urban.brussels, the city of Brussels and MSI were involved in the selection procedure for which sixteen developers applied.

Work on The Dome will start in the first quarter of 2023. The expected construction period is two to three years.

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