Gare Maritime, once Europe’s largest railway station for goods on the Tour & Taxis site in Brussels, has been transformed into a covered city with a mixed program of working and shopping and plenty of public space to relax. Under impressive steel roofs Neutelings Riedijk Architects designed the new Gare Maritime as a city district – ‘a city where it never rains’.
Public Gardens and Squares
The old station from the beginning of the 20th century consists of three larger and four smaller halls. Under the existing roofs of the side aisles, 12 new pavilions have been added to accommodate the new program. They create a new structure of boulevards and streets, gardens and squares, that follows the existing urban context and the building structure in a natural way, like a true city.
The central space in the heart of the building has been kept open for public events. It has a pleasant climate, which follows the changing of the seasons. Inspired by the ‘Ramblas’, on both sides of the event space a green walking boulevard is created. The 16-meter-wide pedestrian routes leave enough room for spacious inner gardens, with a hundred large trees. Gare Maritime has a total of 10 gardens based on four themes: the woodland garden, the flower garden, the grass garden and the fragrance garden. For the squares, Brussels visual artist Henri Jacobs designed eight mosaics.
Largest CLT Project in Europe
The new pavilions were built using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), with an enormous reduction in the amount of cement as a result. The choice of wood also had a favorable effect on the construction process: thanks to prefabrication and the dry constructing method, the construction time was considerably shorter.
State-of-the-art in Sustainability
Gare Maritime is entirely energy neutral and fossil free. The glass façades on Picardstreet are outfitted with solar cells. On the roofs, a total area of 17,000 m2 of solar panels has been installed. At all levels far-reaching sustainability measures have been implemented, such as use of geothermal energy and reuse of rainwater.
Gare Maritime is an important contribution to the sustainable development of the Tour & Taxis site and the Kanaalzone in Brussels.
This project was commissioned by Extensa and realized in cooperation with Bureau Bouwtechniek, Ney & partners, Boydens engineering and OMGEVING. In the first phase, the existing historic building was carefully restored by Jan de Moffarts Architects, Bureau Bouwtechniek, Ney & Partners and Boydens.