A2RC ARCHITECTS (first-named A.2R.C) was established in Brussels (Belgium) in 1983 by architects Brigitte D’Helft and Michel Verliefden, with the aim of forming a close link between art, architecture and urban environment. Brussels – a city known in the 1970s for disastrous urbanisation – is a terrain of choice for the firm’s work in order to implement new ways of urban living. A2RC ARCHITECTS has pursued the rehabilitation of Brussels by offering full architectural services for the construction of new buildings and urban communities as well as for the transformation, restoration, and re-adaptation of noteworthy buildings. With offices located in the heart of the city, in a former printing factory recently transformed by A2RC ARCHITECTS and turned into a mixed-use building organised around a large courtyard, the firm is ideally situated to pursue its interest in associating the wealth of the past with concerns of the future.
A2RC ARCHITECTS is working towards using its knowledge in other cities beset by similar problems. A2RC ARCHITECTS has designed a large variety of building types from small housing and renovation projects in city centres to large-scale mixed-use ensembles and urban communities, and from obsolete airport rehabilitation programs to high-rise buildings while in the field of theatres, opera houses, arts and cultural centres, museums, convention centres, office buildings, parliament buildings and other gathering places. Since the completion of the renovation of Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie – Belgium’s most famous opera house – in Brussels in 1986 and its newly built addition (now listed), the firm’s experience in this area has proved to be matched by very few on the European scene, with the KVS Royal Flemish Theatre being only one in a series of successfully completed meeting places. With the firm’s encouragement, numerous prominent artists such as Wim Delvoye, Miquel Navarro, Panamarenko, Richard Serra or Franz West, and many other young artists, have associated their work with A2RC ARCHITECTS, creating installations within the projects in a manner that is enriching the life of all involved, with the ultimate goal to provide the end-users with buildings and a city they can enjoy day after day.
A savoir-faire coupled with a profound knowledge of the procedures, institutions, and continual relations with the decision-makers in the complicated maze of the ‘Capital of Europe’ has resulted in many successfully completed projects, several being recognised on both the Belgian and the international scenes by the jury of organisations such as the Règles d’Or de l’Urbanisme in Brussels (Belgium), the MIPIM in Cannes (France), the RICS in London (United Kingdom) or Europa Nostra in The Hague (the Netherlands) to name a few.