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LOCATION / Brussels, Belgium

CLIENT / Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

AREA / Canopies : 2,285 sqm & Facades : 4,335 sqm

PROGRAM / Public space

PROJECT / 1994 - 1995

STATUS / Built 1998



RICS AWARDS 2005 : Mention

The shopping arcade, which was given listed status in 1986 and rightly considered one of the most innovative monuments in the history of urban planning in Europe, was to be restored for its 150th anniversary. The arcade's glory had become somewhat tarnished by the dubious alterations of recent decades, and required a high-quality restoration, based on concrete historic and scientific research. All the façades were re-painted in the original colours. As to the imitation marble, since complete removal would have been financially impossible, craftspeople were commissioned to restore the sections in the original spirit. Appropriate lighting was installed, contributing to the enhancement of the entire project. All the window frames, joinery and display windows of the shops were harmonised, by restoring altered elements to their original typology. As the glass canopies had never undergone thorough restoration, it was important to find a lasting solution to the problems of waterproofing and stability, while maintaining the finesse and luminous quality of the structure. The essence of the steel structure was able to be conserved, while the system for securing the glass was entirely redesigned by the architects to cope with problems of expansion / contraction, waterproofing and replacement of broken panes. Previously, they had been attached with putty directly onto the structure, now the glass is held between two stainless steel glazing beads bolted to the structure. The watertight seal is provided by a polyurethane seal held in a channel in the extension of the upper end of the glazing bead. The contemporary solution makes the arcade even lighter. Sliding ladders on rails fixed to the outside of the canopy make it easy and safe to access the whole area, and carry out maintenance, which will ensure that the site remains in excellent condition for the future.

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