Gare Maritime, part of the development on the Tour & Taxis site in Brussels, has won a major architecture prize in the Netherlands.
Gare Maritime is the former railway terminal for goods coming into Brussels from across the world, for distribution to the country and its neighbours. In its day, it was the largest goods terminal in all of Europe.
However after rail gave way to road, the site, by the side of the canal in the centre of the capital, lay abandoned and derelict, its only saving grace being that the extensive terrain that once housed the station and its warehouses turned into a haven for biodiversity.
Now the area has been reclaimed from nature, the terrain cleared and wildlife replaced by a centre for civil servants of the Flemish government.
The main buildings set out to be ‘a city where it never rains’, offering space for retail, entertainment and culture, all under the glass roof of an imposing 19th century structure.
The project was this week crowned with the ARC20 Architecture Award, given annually by the Dutch platform de Architect.
“Now it is a place for young and established companies, with a public area in the middle for large and smaller events,” the prize jury said in its report.
“The jury is impressed by the way in which this project contributes to the revitalisation of this part of Brussels. In the building, urban life can be brought in from outside, as a gift for the city.”