OMA / reinier de graaf, together with jaspers-eyers architects, has won a competition to design the new headquarters of the national railway company of belgium (SNCB) in brussels. with a total area of 75,000 square meters, the project brings together all SNCB departments under one roof, creating work space for 4,000 employees. the design preserves the ensemble of the station’s three monumental buildings with the addition of an 11-story, 236-meter-long (774 ft) new volume facing the rail tracks.

oma belgium railway headquarters
image © OMA | main image by luxigon © OMA



reinier de graaf, the OMA partner in charge of the project, says that the interaction between the site’s existing buildings, inaugurated on the occasion of the 1958 brussels world’s fair, and the addition is an expression of brussels’ double nature. ‘it embraces the belgian brussels, with its early, and often courageous expressions of modern architecture, and the european brussels, for which the european railway and the brussels-south stand as symbols,’ says de graaf.

oma belgium railway headquarters
image by luxigon © OMA



at street level, a three-story entrance lobby, retail spaces, and visible access points to the rail tracks form part of the municipality’s strategy to inject new life into the neighborhood’s streets. on the side of the rail tracks, the façade reveals the diversity of activities within the new building. the SNCB office space also includes conference and training rooms, a fitness center, a restaurant, and rooftop gardens on the existing buildings.

oma belgium railway headquarters
image by SLASHCUBE © OMA



‘at 236 by 19 meters in plan, the new volume maintains the horizontal thrust of the original in its bearing to the tracks,’ explains OMA. ‘at once geological in scale, the building is impressionistic in its effects — the sheer, cliff-like façade is rendered particulate by the articulation of un-fritted portholes. in its openness to the tracks, the building offers a playful disclosure of its inner workings – a move to convey the transparency of the organization to the public it serves.’

OMA to complete belgium's railway headquarters with 'sheer, cliff-like façade'
image by SLASHCUBE © OMA

OMA to complete belgium's railway headquarters with 'sheer, cliff-like façade'
image by SLASHCUBE © OMA

OMA to complete belgium's railway headquarters with 'sheer, cliff-like façade'
image © OMA



project info:


project: SNCB headquarters
status: competition
client: BESIX, BPC, immobel
address: fonsny avenue 47-49, brussels, belgium
program: office (including conference rooms, training rooms, auditorium, fitness center, restaurant)
GFA: 75,000 sqm
timeline: competition start (2018), competition result (2020)


team —
OMA partner: reinier de graaf
associate-in-charge: mark veldman


competition —
team: yahya abdullah, claudio araya, valentin bansac, julian beqiri, jean-baptiste clot, caterina corsi, paul cournet, agnieszka dabek, tianyi huang, marina kounavi, cyriac levet, nicholas lin, alice loumeau, chenhao ma, davide masserini, masumi ogawa, daan ooievaar, ana otelea, saskia simon, iason stathatos, xiaotang tang, yushang zhang


collaborators —
local architect: jaspers-eyers & partners
MEP/BREEAM/fire safety: boydens engineering, CES
structure/stability: bureau greisch
NWOW: möbius
acoustics: bureau de fonseca
façade engineering: BESIX
heritage: callebaut architecten, suzanne fischer