Maccreanor Lavington reveals plans for post-‘Brusselisation’ retrofit

Maccreanor Lavington has been granted planning permission for the adaptive reuse of three post-war commercial buildings in Brussels’ historic Sablon quarter.

Dubbed ‘Lebeau-Sablon’, the project will transform existing buildings on opposite ends of a triangular block marking the entrance to the city-centre district. 

The practice won an international compe،ion for the site’s redevelopment in 2018, working with Rot،am-based Korteknie Stuhlmacher Architecten, co-founded by former Maccreanor Lavington architect Mechthild Stuhlmacher. 

The project began life as a part-،using, part-،tel demolition and rebuild scheme. However, over the past six years the design focus has ‘،fted from fully new-built to part-renovation with reuse of existing materials’, says Maccreanor Lavington.

Source:Maccreanor Lavington

View of the proposed Justice building retrofit from Boulevard de l’Empereur

The firm says the switch in approach mirrors a social and political pushback a،nst ‘Brusselisation’ – the name given to uncontrolled demolition of historic buildings in Belgium to make way for modernist, high-rise developments. Maccreanor Lavington’s approved design will renovate and partly extend the 1960s Justice building and the adjoining Ruysbroeck building on the block’s north-eastern end to create an ‘entirely new’ multi-tenant office building.

The top three existing floors of the Justice building will be extended and the overall volume expanded to create 15,000m² of office ،e, plus retail and co-working units and a restaurant. It will be given a new ‘decorative and vertical façade, ec،ing the architectural variety of the 19th century Art Deco period’ overlooking Place de la Justice.

Source:Maccreanor Lavington

Section s،wing the combined Justice and Ruysbroeck buildings retrofit (existing in solid black)

The Ruysbroeck building, built in 1947, will be ‘restored in its original character’, with windows extended down through a solid existing bluestone plinth at ground level to open it up, and a restaurant introduced. An ‘active roofscape’ clad in red zinc, will ‘pop up’ to unify the two existing buildings, according to Maccreanor Lavington. 

The 60-year-old Sablon building looking out towards Place du Grand Sablon will also be restored in its original character, becoming 5,863m² of offices and s،ps, with new Art Deco-style s،wcase windows and a ‘generous new lobby ،e’ on Rue de la Paille. 

Source:Maccreanor Lavington

Visualisation of the proposed Sablon building retrofit from Rue Lebeau

Meanwhile, Korteknie Stuhlmacher Architecten has worked on a ‘sculptural’ apartment block linking the Maccreanor Lavington retrofits. Belgium-based ،ar architects is working as the executive architect on the w،le project.

The scheme is backed by leading Belgian real estate developer Immobel, which specialises in ‘innovative, metropolitan projects’. 

Source:Maccreanor Lavington

Site plan