The debate on the presence of highrise within a city centre is too often shortcut by simplistic or even demagogic arguments on the ‘human scale’ of a city. In this case the city is Brussels. The site is located along the Canal, maybe the only true urban space left in Brussels. The proposal speculates on the bizarre mixture of Brussels’ highrise phobia and the unrestrained freedom which vertical developments can engender.
The project addresses two issues:
- mixing housing, offices, services, a cinema and a massive civic infrastructure (a water purification plant) into on powerful conglomerate and urban silhouette
-upgrading the stacking-logic by clustering programs and adding an extra new ‘ground level’ at +157m altitude
The new panoramic ground level (the deck) enables the city’s population services to be located in one grand space, so that at life’s key moments (birth, marriage, death) the citizens are offered a larger than life panorama on their capital city. On top of the deck rests a small hotel tower, which scale is a reminiscence to today’s ‘towers’ of Brussels. The straightforward tectonics of it all cause a moment of visual doubt, but moreover, they offer an instant of urban beauty.