The outside interior
Document typePart of book or chapter of book
PublisherBrussels Writing Bureau
Rights accessRestricted access - publisher's policy
The depot of Avenue du Roi is located near the main Belgian train station Brussels Midi. It is one of the rare infrastructures that contains both a depot and a workshop within a dense urban area. Furthermore, it is one of the last remaining active industrial sites in this very residential area of Saint-Gilles. The depot therefore becomes a transition point between large-scale transport infrastructure and the smaller scale of residential neighbourhoods. However, with little to no connection between interior space and exterior façade, the building is currently disconnected from its context. This proposal interprets the area between Avenue du Roi, Rue de Mérode and Avenue Van Volxem as a single cluster. The housing on Rue de Mérode is extended onto the depot, which needs to be rebuilt to adapt to the length of new tram models. The Rue de Belgrade functions as a low-traffic inner passage within the cluster, able to welcome the leisure activities – especially childrens’ playgrounds – lacking in the neighbourhood, along the existing industrial and productive activity. The Rue de Belgrade becomes an ‘outside interior’, connected to the city by opening passages that blend in with the existing street network. The cluster’s proximity to the railway and the city centre make it a strategic spot for urban mobility. A park and ride facility is located under the workshop space, now renovated as a public space and playground. Working on this section, vertical views as well as access points create synergies between the different activities and functions. However, some interactions are also more symbolic: the remains of the old depot structure can be reused for rooftop greenhouses, while old trams are reused as playground attractions, a historic remnant and an opportunity for interaction between the public and the depot. By combining productive transport facilities and recreational activity, this intervention could build a link with society in the widest sense.
CitationBrissez, C. [et al.]. The outside interior. A: "End of line: combining housing, facilities and transport infrastructure in Brussels". Brussels: Brussels Writing Bureau, 2014, p. 78-85.
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