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LOCATION / Brussels, Belgium

CLIENT / Artesia Banking Corporation

PARTNER /  Pascal Van Der Kelen

AREA / 11 000 sqm above ground

PROGRAM / Cultural center

PROJECT / 2003 - 2007

STATUS / Built 2007

The Centre for the Arts moved to rue de l’Ecuyer in the heart of Brussels. Its premises are right in the middle of the old town, near Place de la Monnaie and opposite the entrance to the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. The new arts centre is located in a part of the Vanderborght complex (35,000 square metres), which is also home to the workshops of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, the Brussels Opera House. On the fifth floor of the Centre for the Arts, the exhibition space communicates directly with the Fiocco multipurpose room of La Monnaie. This connection with the opera gives a special dimension to the centre and opens up new possibilities. The centre is a unique meeting place for the arts, artists and the public. Besides a space earmarked for the collection, which has its permanent base here, an important role is allocated to the latest developments in contemporary art. An art bookshop has been built, which mainly sells publications about international contemporary visual arts. While retaining its mission as an exhibition space, the fifth floor is an event centre where people can meet. On the ground floor, a coffee shop is open to the general public. In doing so, Centre for the Arts aims to make an active contribution to enhancing the artistic life of the city. The building, which dates from 1935, is one of the rare examples of modernism in Brussels. The brightness, the unbuilt space in the centre, the skylight and the horizontality of the façade are typical qualities. On each of the six floors, there are inner walls on three sides. This enables the ceiling height to be maintained. The spatiality of the building is enhanced and its original proportions remain intact. The ground floor, first and second floors communicate via the atrium. The top three levels are connected by a curtain wall. This contemporary addition of tremendous simplicity confirms the quality of the building while allowing it to meet the most exacting standards of comfort and safety. In the exhibition spaces – covering some 4,500 square metres – the building’s original character remains. The ground floor, however, is enhanced by a new architecture in the entrance / bookshop and café / restaurant.

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