115 Citygate II / Petite Île

Mixed development of housing, schools and productive activities in Biestebroeck, Brussels

i.c.w. Aurelie Hachez + Elseline Bazin, Korteknie Stuhlmacher architecten, Sergison Bates architects and Boom Landscape
Procedure Architecture competition
Client SLRB-BGHM, citydev.brussels & Ecole de Tous
Surface 74.000 m2
Phase preliminary design
Date 2018 -

A l’île
Biestebroeck was, is, and will be a place of production, initiative and activity.
A place where working, learning, living coexist side by side.
A place for everyone, a neighborhood for all.

Working in the city
Biestebroeck, an assemblage of industrial typologies and heterogeneous social environments, presents a generous and identity-based complexity that is important for us to study, preserve and to strengthen. The establishment of new industries in conjunction with the existing local context, their integration through a mix of typologies and scales, the creation of a porosity between programs, are for us the answers capable of initating a neighborhood with a strong identity and a richness in a varied and resilient economy.

Living in the city
We are just as interested in the ‘space between’ the buildings as in the buildings themselves, as both contribute to the ambiance of a positively charged urban environment. Contrary to the intentions of the 1960s urban planning, which adopted a strategy of setting up buildings in an undefined public space or favoring a culture of mono-functional use, we find that the city must be defined as much by its public domain only by its buildings, and that these buildings must be open to adaptation and multiple uses.

Learning in the city
Just like its neighborhood, the new school is a place where you can live, work, produce and play side by side. With the different buildings, pre-existing and new, and different exterior spaces, the school is a social and spatial microcosm, a didactic model and a functional machine. Being one of the ‘Ecole de Tous’ models, the school takes on an innovative role just as much as didactic responsibilities. By inviting the neighborhood into its various courtyards and gardens, by sharing its facilities, it is a ‘school for all’ in the most fundamental and inclusive way possible.

Continuity in the city
We are being asked to build a new neighborhood on a site whose industrial identity has been established for a long time. Three old industrial buildings are still present on the site, in which a new creative and productive community has developed in a way that perfectly illustrates the relaxed and extraordinary character of the place. For us, a new neighborhood rooted in what exists and flourishing from this, will be all the richer, complex, multi-dimensional, and will be all the more suitable to becoming a place where it is good to work, to learn and to blossom, to live.