Plans to redevelop around 300,000 m² of office space in the heart of Brussels have been announced. The redevelopment project, entrusted to Plusoffice Architects and Cityforward, aims to transform the city’s European Quarter into a sustainable city district and green neighbourhood.
The European Commission is selling back 21 buildings to the city of Brussels in an attempt to reduce the institution’s carbon emissions. Aligned with the objectives of the European Green Deal of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030, the Commission is counting on hybrid and remote working to scrap the high carbon footprint office buildings from its green balance sheet.
We’re delighted to enter a new phase of what will become a pioneering project transforming the European district in Brussels into a sustainable, future-proof, and vibrant neighbourhood.Frédéric Van der Planken, CEO Whitewood
Cityforward is a property fund established by the Belgian Federal Holding and Investment Company and insurance company Ethias. Their plan it to transform the 300,000 m² of office space into sustainable buildings, including housing units, in the coming years.
Plusoffice Architects will be the design team of the project, consisting of accomplished architects and experts that will spend the coming months working on feasibility studies, urban planning integration and stakeholder consultations. Their efforts will be supported by RE-ST and Osmos Network, two expert firms in sustainable urban development.
“This design team shares our global vision to transform the heart of Europe into a vibrant urban district, with a focus on the social fabric, ecology, circularity and sustainable mobility. The input and involvement of all stakeholders are an essential part of the whole project. And this design team really wants to use it for synergy”, said Frédéric Van der Planken, CEO Whitewood, manager of Cityforward.
The design team is now drawing up the framework where they define the ideal mix of offices, public and commercial facilities, green and open spaces and different types of homes. For each building, they consider the maximum desired building volume, where space can be freed up by changing boundaries and how projects best fit within the surrounding neighbourhood.
“The ambitious team around Plusoffice Architects has clearly shown how it wants to find common ground between private and public interests with a healthy critical attitude”, commented Kristiaan Borret, Master Architect of the Brussels Region. “This is essential in an urban project such as this. They want to initially gain trust by engaging constructively with the different stakeholders. The collaboration with RE-ST and Osmos brings additional expertise to the table and ensures there is sufficient manpower to get everything done during peak periods.”
On behalf of Cityforward, the design team will also explicitly focus on various aspects of sustainability. This includes reducing energy consumption in the offices, reducing CO2 emissions, facilitating renewable energy sources, improving mobility in the district and creating new green spaces. Cityforward wants this approach to have a positive impact on the environment as well as contribute to the well-being and quality of life of those who live, work, shop and, relax in the area.