brussels prepares to welcome its own centre pompidou as winning scheme is unveiled

brussels prepares to welcome its own centre pompidou as winning scheme is unveiled

a trio of architecture firms have been tasked with converting a historic building in belgium into a major new cultural hub. the former citroën garage will be transformed into ‘KANAL – centre pompidou’, a new institution that will bring together a museum of modern and contemporary art, an architecture centre (CIVA foundation), and a range of public spaces devoted to culture, education, and leisure. the jury of the international architecture competition praised the project for being ‘exceptionally well integrated in its context’.

KANAL centre pompidou brussels
all images © NOA/EM2N/sergison bates architects



noAarchitecten, EM2N, and sergison bates architects — with a scheme entitled ‘a stage for brussels’ — have been commissioned to complete the project. the restructured showroom will become KANAL – centre pompidou’s ‘display window’, home to installations, performances and concerts on the ground floor, and a restaurant on the third floor. meanwhile, the large white outdoor frieze will be extended to form an electronic display sign. internally, a wide street gives access to the museum of modern and contemporary art, the CIVA foundation, and a 400-seat auditorium.

KANAL centre pompidou brussels
view of the main nave with access to the exhibition spaces and galleries



these three elements of the institution will be contained within three boxes, a solution that allows the volumes’ climatic conditions to be individually controlled. the museum will benefit from exhibition spaces spread out over four floors of varying heights, making a range of configurations possible. importantly, the winning team conceived the cultural hub as a ‘welcoming, lively and dynamic place of exchange, a place that invites all brussels residents to feel at home there’.

KANAL centre pompidou brussels
the auditorium opens up and becomes part of the public interior street



launched almost exactly a year ago, the international architecture competition was one of the most important to have been organized in the belgian capital, with a budget of €125 million excluding VAT. work will begin in the autumn of 2019 and will be phased over several stages until the official opening in late 2022. throughout the project’s construction, KANAL – centre pompidou will organize a range of temporary cultural activities.

KANAL centre pompidou brussels
the exhibition hall on the first level — the piano nobile opens up to the canal through large windows

KANAL centre pompidou brussels
the showroom as a stage for the city

KANAL centre pompidou brussels
the exhibition hall of CIVA — the openings offer views across the building and celebrate the existing structure

KANAL centre pompidou brussels
the exhibition hall of MMCA offering views over brussels

KANAL centre pompidou brussels
the crossing of the interior street and the main nave

KANAL centre pompidou brussels
the neighboring waterway is activated by the building’s new use

KANAL centre pompidou brussels
the new institution is set to open in late 2022



project info:


total surface area: 39,100 sqm (+ 2,500 sqm parking space)
indoor public spaces: 12,500 sqm
museum of modern and contemporary art: 12,200 sqm exhibition space
CIVA foundation: 7,000 sqm (incl. exhibition space: 1,800 sqm)
shared spaces: 7,400 sqm
work budget: €125 million excl. VAT

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