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architect vincent callebaut has proposed plans to transform a once-industrial area of brussels into a mixed-use eco-neighborhood. the masterplan comprises residential, retail, office, and leisure space, and has been conceived as a model for new sustainable communities in european cities where the urban fabric has already been established.

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all images courtesy of vincent callebaut architectures

 

 

built between 1902 and 1907, ‘tour & taxis’ is an old customs clearance and storage complex that covers 40 hectares of former wetlands. with the introduction of the EU, and the subsequent lifting of custom borders, the building now serves no purpose. in vincent callebaut’s masterplan, the site’s warehouses and sheds have been repurposed into offices with a commitment to conserving energy, and the reuse of renewable power.

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the mixed-use eco-neighborhood comprises residential, retail, office, and leisure space

 

 

the project also focuses on the ‘gare maritime’, transforming it into 50,000 square meters of offices, retail outlets, and public amenities. divided into five parallel naves, the building is decorated like an art nouveau masterpiece, with original wrought iron and stylized forms adorning the pillars and arches. callebaut’s concept brings a public park inside the building, creating an eco-campus replete with vegetation and water. each of the five naves seek to enhance the industrial heritage with a distinct interior that remains completely detached from the existing structure.

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three residential buildings total 85,000 square meters

 

 

completing the masterplan are three residential buildings that total 85,000 square meters, as well as a large pond bordered by a natural and biological pool that connects the site to the adjacent canal. the concept behind the ‘vertical forests’ is to build villas in the sky surrounded by gardens — a notion that seeks to combine the advantages of both rural and urban living. the buildings feature large rooftops, with views provided of brussels’ city center. in addition, canopies are covered with solar panels that provide some of the housing units’ energy requirements.

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a large pond is bordered by a natural and biological pool that connects the site to the adjacent canal

 

 

to stretch the limits and think outside the box; to have courage for oneself and for others; to challenge old structures and advance society and our way of life: that’s the most difficult task in the world, because it confronts the beliefs of predecessors and decision-makers,’ explains vincent callebaut. ‘our proposal for tour & taxis attempts to turn this ambition into a reality — step by step.’

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the ‘gare maritime’ is transformed into 50,000 sqm of office, retail, and public amenities

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the concept brings a public park inside the building

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the original building is decorated like an art nouveau masterpiece

vincent-callebaut-tour-taxis-masterplan-brussels-belgium-designboom-02
an eco-campus is created, replete with vegetation and water

vincent-callebaut-tour-taxis-masterplan-brussels-belgium-designboom-02
each of the five naves seek to enhance the building’s industrial heritage with a distinct interior

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the contents of each volume remain completely detached from the historic structure

 

 

project info:

 

type: architectural commission

architect: vincent callebaut architectures, paris 

client: extensa, T&T project S.A. 

contract location: tour & taxis, brussels, belgium

program: 85,000 sqm housing (zone B) + 50 000 sqm office + retail + leisure (gare maritime) 

surface area: 135,000 sqm

status: W.I.P.

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