When architect Michel Jaspers discovered this full city block, which had been left vacant for decades and fallen into disrepair, he conceived the ambition to transform it into what the Espace Jacqmotte is today: probably the first large-scale mixed-use complex in the heart of the city. Currently managed by his son Laurent Jaspers, the aim is to provide a mix of functions, thereby fulfilling the needs of various different occupants and visitors.
Within the constraints of the existing urban block in the historic centre of the Capital of Europe, the project involved the careful preservation and restoration of its most authentic elements and classified façades, combined with contemporary additions designed in the spirit of the historic industrial fabric of the area. Inside the Espace Jacqmotte complex, the more recently added central part of the industrial block was demolished in order to restore the original, open inner courtyard. In addition to providing natural lighting and ventilation to the surrounding compounds, it has now become a landscaped inner garden equipped with a pond – a peaceful and quiet place in which to escape from busy city life.
Espace Jacqmotte takes its name from the initial owner and occupant of the site, the well-known Belgian coffee brand Jacqmotte. Both the ‘Maison Jacqmotte’ and the production plant were located in the same building, which dates back to 1828. Jacqmotte left the building in the mid-1980s and the entire block was left abandoned for several years. In the early 1990s, architect Michel Jaspers and sons Philippe and Laurent Jaspers took a special interest in this urban city block and envisioned both its renovation and revival. The newly renovated Espace Jacqmotte has been transformed into a truly mixed-use complex that comprises retail units along the famous Rue Haute, an art gallery, office spaces and a series of luxury apartments that includes a duplex on the penthouse level equipped with large, landscaped terraces and a pool.
The entire renovation took place within the perimeters of the original building and many features relating to its rich history were preserved or enhanced. It is when the doors open, however, that visitors truly discover what the Espace Jacqmotte brings to the Marolles area: aluxuriant green oasis and pond that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
The Marolles district, in the heart of Brussels, has long been known as a lively and popular area. Major changes during the turn of the millennium have transformed the historically lower-class district into a desirable place to live, work and visit. Its complete revival attracts people from various multicultural and international horizons, professions, lifestyles and ages. A pleasant mix of restaurants, bars and antique shops, in addition to the famous nearby marketplaces of the Sablon and Place du Jeu de Balle, are just a few examples of attractions which enhance this vibrant environment. Espace Jacqmotte is ideally located between the historic city centre and mid-town Brussels. Less than 50 metres away, a public glass-enclosed elevator gives spectacular panoramic views across the city. It also provides access to the gigantic Palais de Justice that formerly separated the Marolles from the more upper-class area around the Place Louise. This new connection has resulted in the interweaving of the two districts – all of the retail, business and entertainment facilities located around the Boulevard de Waterloo, Avenue de la Toison d’Or and Avenue Louise can be reached on foot in under 5 minutes.
The 26,421-square-metre Espace Jacqmotte provides a wide variety of spaces for multiple functions: cafés and retail units along the Rue Blaes, the Jaspers-Eyers Architects studio at ground level, offices and 70 lofts above.