BeursBourse, Brussels, Belgium

The Beurs is both the actual and symbolic centre of Brussels. The building lies between the monumental boulevards and the maze of medieval streets surrounding the Grote Markt. Although it is a meeting point of both joy and sorrow, its doors remain closed to the public. The conversion project opens up all the facades of the building and provides free public access via a gallery. The hall of the Bourse is restored to its historical state and the windows are cleared to let in plenty of light. Valérie Mannaerts’ artistic stamp on the floor of the gallery gives this new public space a noble character.

One can move through the building from the medieval quarter to the boulevards. The monumental entrance on the Beursplein side retains its current allure. On the Grote Markt side, a new entrance at the level of the main pedestrian flows opposite Sint-Niklaaskerk provides a more inviting route for those coming from Boter- or Taborastraat. Various functions will breathe new life into the space. It is an excellent opportunity to attract people to the archaeological site of Bruxella 1238, the ruins of which lie under Beursstraat. From now on, the site will be directly accessible from the Beurs' cellars. The existing constructions, erected in 1988 in the immediate aftermath of the excavations, will be removed in order to restore the spatial continuity of the road network. The archaeological site will remain visible from Beursstraat via three glass oculi that highlight the main elements of the ruins. The openings will be shielded by brass baskets inspired by the old 'baskets' of the Beurs.

In addition to the various services and entrances, a themed shop will also be set up on the ground floor. The public gallery on the first floor provides access to a café, a restaurant, the ticketing area, temporary exhibitions and meeting rooms. The ticketing area in turn provides access to the second and third floors, which house a permanent, interactive exhibition on Belgian beers. This puts the national beer culture, recognised by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage, in the spotlight. The exhibition highlights the specific characteristics of Belgian beers and how they relate to Belgian culture, history and identity. The visit invariably ends with a tasting in the skybar whose terraces offer a panoramic view of the gilded roofs of the historic centre.
Client
City of Brussels
Architects
Robbrecht en Daem architecten, Bureau d'Etudes en Architectures Urbaines, Popoff architectes
Program
Sheltered public space, brasserie, restaurant, thematic shops, I-spot, seminar space, exhibition space, centre for Belgian beer, panoramic bar and archaeological site
Location
Brussels, Belgium
Date
2015–…
Status
Ongoing
Floor Area
11.318 m2
Team
Paul Robbrecht, Hilde Daem, Johannes Robbrecht, Tom De Moor, Frédéric De Vylder, Thomas Hick, Lorenzo Stroobant, Colm mac Aoidh, Frédéric Timmermans, Brecht Casier, Joris Van Huychem, Magdalena Jendras, César Watterlot, Nathan Van den Bossche, Luc Beckstedde, Elena Gutiérrez, Jolien Naeyaert, Lara Kinds, Nikolas Debrauwer
Art Intervention
Valérie Mannaerts
Restoration
Atelier d'architecture CAZ
Structural Engineering
Greisch
Services Engineering
Greisch
Acoustics
Kahle Acoustics
Contractor
Denys NV (reallocation and restoration), Tripel (Scenography), Renotec (dismantling and demolition)
Scenography
Agence Clemence Farell
Security
Cosep SA
Lighting
I.C.O.N.
Graphic Designer
Base design