The jury praises Xaveer De Geyter for his work, which seeks alternative solutions, engages in confrontation and dares to claim a role for architects as thinkers, critics and innovators. “Architect Xaveer De Geyter has produced critical and progressive work that challenges and questions clichés about architecture and urbanism. He is not afraid to contradict what our society automatically considers to be true and desirable. In this way his architecture keeps an often non-existing debate going and he shows that a culture of architecture is only possible when not everyone agrees with everything. Some projects of Xaveer De Geyter Architects (XDGA) do not start from what is desirable or plausible, but from what should be feasible.”
Xaveer De Geyter is “proud to receive the Award and grateful for the profound way in which the jury sketches the specifics of the architectural practice of XDGA.”
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT BY XDGA
One aspect of the beauty of Brussels comes from the reckless juxtaposition of different types of urbanity. The Square Rogier is such a point of friction where different neighbourhoods and the centre of Brussels unwillingly collide with each other.
Program: renewal of Place Rogier and the Boulevard Botanique, with the rehabilitation of the subway station Rogier
Procedure: competition − 1st prize
Status: in progress
Client: Brussels Capital Region
Total floor area: 45.000 m² (square: 9.000 m², metro: 7.000 m², boulevard: 29.000 m²)
Budget: 20.000.000 €
Landscape:Michel Desvigne Paysagiste
Structural engineer: Ney & Partners
Mechanical engineer: Studiebureau Boydens
The square was originally in front of the North station, but lost its urban coherence in the fifties when the station was moved towards the North. The square is nowadays still a very important public transportation hub of three underground subway lines, an underground tram station and on street level a very busy bus station.
The square is used in an intensive but chaotic way by different kind of passers-by, shoppers, commuters, tourists and local residents. Everybody carefully avoids each other and seems to disappear as fast as they arrive on the square. Today the square lacks the spatial quality to generate a hotspot in the city.
Our concept proposes a spatial strategy: horizontal and vertical connections are reorganized by concentrating the different uses of the public space. Simultaneously the square itself becomes a fluid open space again. Finally a special articulation is proposed that clearly differentiates the square from the boulevard and accentuates the first as a new reference point.
The project has three main elements:
. The strip: a car free zone, green walking area with urban recreation activities.
. The canopy: an enormous glass and steel roof that partly covers the boulevard and clearly marks the square. Almost all public transfers are gathered under it.
. The square: by concentrating all activities along the two previous elements the square can be conceived as an open and more representative space that can easily be appropriated by the surrounding hotels and towers.