The Docks Bruxsel architectural project is inextricably linked to the urban development plan that spawned it. The idea was to transform an abandoned industrial wasteland, cut off from all existing urban structures, into a new mixed-use, dynamic and attractive district on the way into the city, a natural extension of the adjacent urban structures.
The entire project has been approached as a city district in its own right, composed of streets and squares lined with buildings housing shops, leisure facilities and businesses. A large majority of these areas is covered by a huge glass roof, protecting visitors from the elements.
The site’s configuration gives rise to a natural pedestrian zone between the two main levels of shops, that of the factory wharf lining the Willebroeck canal and that of the boulevard Lambermont, which joins up with the municipality of Schaerbeek. The landscaped surroundings link up the various spaces and help to anchor the project in a new urban and bucolic reality.
The pedestrian spaces are broad and spectacular and have been designed to create visual surprises at various points and offer a broad range of activities on 4 levels: the two levels of shops, above which are cinemas and an events venue with a panoramic terrace taking up the bow of the site.
The idea underlying the architectural project is to make it a benchmark for sustainable development through the use of the site’s natural resources: canal water, planted roofs equipped with solar panels, walkways without air-conditioning and heat recovery from the nearby incinerator.
The project also preserves the character of the site's industrial past by converting the existing buildings, by using industrial-type materials to develop the surroundings and thanks to the creation of an exhibition area tracing the site’s history.