Students from seven of the country’s universities will begin next month on drawing up plans for a renovation of the King Baudouin Stadium.
The stadium formerly known as Heysel Stadium, is to be renovated after plans for a new national stadium on what is now Parking C of the Heysel complex fell through due to a mixed set of circumstances including the withdrawal of Anderlecht as the house team, and the refusal of the Flemish authorities to grant necessary permissions.
The idea of a renovation will go ahead despite the published opinion of Ghelamco, owners of the new football stadium in Ghent, that the King Baudouin would need to be demolished and started again from scratch.
The football union and the Memorial Van Damme asked the nine universities in Belgium to put forward teams of architecture students to draw up plans for the new stadium, which will be adjudicated by a team of judges in January. Seven responded in the affirmative, with only the universities of Liege and Leuven declining. According to Dag Boutsen, dean of the faculty at Leuven, the project invitation was not professional enough. The Brussels chief architect was not consulted, Prof. Boutsen told Bruzz. “And in the jury that has to evaluate the architectural project, there are even footballers.”
The stadium will undergo another name change, to the Golden Generation Arena. Project manager Serge Couvreur dismissed the KULeuven objections.
“The chief architect, just like Brussels alderman Benoit Hellings and the planned shopping and congress centre NEO, are all closely connected to the project,” he told the paper. And the jury is no longer a gathering of footballers, local residents and government representatives, but will be made up of architects and engineering bureaus who have yet to be selected, he said.
Before the students begin their work, the deans and participating professors have visited the existing stadium, including attending the concert given by Rammstein. “Concerts are also important to the stadium,” Couvreur said. “The building and taking down of the stage was especially interesting.” The next visit will take place on 6 September for the Memorial Van Damme before it finds a new venue for the next two years while works are carried out. The students themselves are due to visit on 25 September, after which their work can commence.