RIVA, including canal-side housing and a public plaza, is designed by architectesassoc for client Extensa. On site since end 2017, it is due finished mid-2019. The plaza will connect the Quartier Nord east and the Tours&Taxis neighbourhood west and from it a long-awaited bridge already under construction will bring pedestrians from one bank to another, along with a new bus line. Thus the project's potential impact at city-scale, similar to that of a launchpad, is huge: Brussels has been struggling to straddle the canal for decades. For this reason, work has concentrated first on the unbuilt space, unequivocally defining its perimeter, qualifying relationships ground level through user-friendly urban design and landscaping, strategically positioning shops, entrances, and a large communal bicycle hub. Decked with mostly timber, the plaza flows down to quai-level via wide stairs fit for lingering along the sunny canal-side. Indeed the quartier will soon be equipped with cafés, shops, and restaurants ... their venue justified by the number of new homes soon-to-come here: RIVA will bring 139 new homes, and the CANAL WHARF project architectesassoc is also working on next door will propose XXX. In part due to intentional focus on the qualified public space at pedestrian level, architecture above ground floor on RIVA demonstrates pertinent reserve. Large terraces, fluid light-filled living space, and strong inside-out dialogue suffice, supported by a subdued material palette including stone, bronze aluminium, timber and cream-coloured concrete.