This site is located along a road that approaches Brussels from the north, near the ‘Gare du Nord’ (North Station) in an urban area which is in the process of being completely transformed. A canal and skyscraper set the scene, creating a mixed context of industrial and urban beauty. Conix Architects created a bold statement, where two towers rise up and serve as landmarks for the area.
The program is divided in two parts: offices and apartments on the higher level, shops, bars and restaurants on the lower level expressed by a ‘void’. The aim is to combine two scales: the city (urban scale) and the neighbourhood (human scale). The urban scale is represented by two towers of differing heights. The façades are designed to act as structural and aesthetic elements that duplicate the pattern of crossing lines visible on the floor plans. These lines generate continuity between vertical and horizontal parts of the building and also strengthen the links with the industrial character of the site.
The office entrance is visible from the main street; the apartments have breath-taking views of the canal. All levels have been designed to offer a flexible floor plan, which allows for different layouts and arrangements.
The human scale is represented through public spaces on the ground floor (shops) and the first floor (esplanade with pavilions) of the building, which offer a space to host festivities and cultural events. The patios of the offices allow light to penetrate and create vertical viewpoints throughout the building. The ground floor is penetrated by several openings, which allow for numerous framed views from the street to the canal.
In combining the different scales it creates an interweaving pattern of functions that are projected in plan and elevation. By doing so, the occurrence of the built environment becomes a crossing-over event between a multitude of actions and motions taking place.
Visualisation © Philippe Steels