The building was designed in 1958 by architect Hugo Van Kuyck for the SNCI. The premises are situated in the upper class trade quarter of the ‘avenue Waterloo’. This district lies besides the Brussels small ring road and contains old town parts. The ring road is a real car river, surrounded by commercial enterprises and hotels which mark it as a mixed neighbourhood.
The building has not been classified but it has architectural characteristics, which testify to the period in which it was built. Like in the films of Jacques Tati, on the old photographs one can clearly distinguish the use of good architectural techniques, which do remind of a high standard in the way of life in those days.
This building is situated in the commercial area ‘boulevard de Waterloo’, known for its luxury shops. It is a Y-junction of the ‘small ring road’, running through old parts of the city, a proper ‘river of cars’, surrounded by commercial enterprises and hotels in a multicultural area.
The concept for this project is based on the presence of a number of striking architectural elements. This building is reminiscent of the glorious 1960s. The combination of contemporary architecture with the existing style has breathed new life into this building. This project entails renovating the building completely as well as the ‘Bâtiment de l’Horloge’ at the rear. These two structures were also linked while the enclosed inner area got an atrium.
A new façade is envisaged for the building, a commercial section on the ground floor and offices on the upper floors. While designing the façade, Conix Architects wanted to integrate it into the existing context. It became more appealing with a contemporary, new look. By using twisted glass plates, a refined vertical level is created that makes the building less imposing. In this way, the building forms a fragmented resting point, dominated by a continuous flow of urban movement on the side.
Photography © Serge Brison