RIVA

2014

Four volumes –3 buildings and a bicycle shelter– frame the Picard bridge (under construction), at the same time affirming the urbanity of the city blocks and creating a clear distinction between public and private. By a set of staggered heights the four volumes engage a dialogue with the neighbouring sites, and between the two parts of the project itself. The variable volumetry of the project thus allows sunshine to reach far into the courtyards, and creates views of all apartments on the canal.
Streetview

  • selected
  • retail
  • passive
  • residential
  • office
  • public
  • new build
Site
Quai de Willebroeck 23-26 1000 Brussels
Client
Extensa
Structural engineering
bST
Services engineer
Ingenium
Contractor
Van Laere
Surfaces
14 992 m² above ground level and 5 360 m² below ground level

Complete description

BROAD CONTEXT
The Brussels North Quarter, from its genesis, forgets that it has its feet in the water. Yet Tour & Taxis begs with open arms to make the leap and to "bridge" the Canal. It is all about opening gaps, creating fringes that speak to each other, to dialogue. The development of the Beco Recreational Park along the canal banks is a step forward in this direction.

PROJECT
The project is developing around the new Picard Bridge, whose construction is underway. A new public space is created in the axis of the Boulevard Simon Bolivar. The space narrows between the building, creating a tension, announcing the "jump" of the Picard bridge to the other side, then opens wide on the waterfront and the park and city opposite. Rather than the bridge itself, its mode of occupation will have a structuring impact.

PUBLIC SPACE AND STAIRCASE
The project proposes to execute the entire public space in wood, from the pedestrian bridge to the public stairs and the bike shelter bordering it. A gentle ramp slopes along the stairs, inviting passers-by to descend on the Quay.

BICYCLE SHELTER AS TRANSPARENT INFRASTRUCTURE
A shelter with permeable wooden walls hosts the 160 bikes of the site. The roof of the shelter is considered its 5th facade: even if it is waterproof, it maintains the materialization of its wooden facades. A few openings create a vertical link to the outside and let the crowns of trees through the roof.

BUILDINGS
Four volumes –3 buildings and a bicycle shelter– frame the Picard bridge, at the same time affirming the urbanity of the city blocks and creating a clear distinction between public and private.
By a set of staggered heights the four volumes engage a dialogue with the neighbouring sites, and between the two parts of the project itself. The variable volumetry of the project thus allows sunshine to reach far into the courtyards, and creates views of all apartments on the canal.
The ground floors of the buildings include commercial functions (catering and stores), as well as offices for liberal professions. Most apartments are double facing, and benefit as such from both morning and evening sun.

FACADES AND MATERIALITY
The design of the facades starts from the desire to create generous glazed surfaces, to sufficiently illuminate the living spaces by maximizing the contribution of daylight. In order to create sunny terraces, those terraces are shifted in a staggered pattern, creating double height spaces.
This metric modulation gives birth to a composition in syncope: the rhythm is broken unexpectedly, amplifying the visual tension.
All facades are covered in a bright limestone. The balconies are composed of clear concrete, equipped with glazed railings protecting the occupants from the winds around the canal. Metallic details in warm bronze add depth and contrast to the facade compositions.