The Secchi-Vigano project for the renewal of Rue De La Loi in Brussels, Belgium has recently been unveiled by JDS/Julien De Smedt Architects. This master plan is sought to create permeability among what is now two isolated communities on either side of Rue de la Loi and mirror the political identity of the European Union as green, open, accessible and transparent.
This is how JDS explain the project on their blog:
Brussels is a city of contradictions, chaos and utter diversityâ€¦ it is equally cherished and hated for its capacity at formalizing problems and not solving them. Too often has Brussels been the setting for a large academic discussion on urbanism and urban complexitiesâ€¦ revolving around so many highly intelligent, articulated but intricate and obtuse elucubrations orchestrated by brilliant thinkers and resulting in yet more non-propositional architectural quiproquoâ€¦ too often have we been the witnesses of this constructed manege and have been disappointed by its esoteric outcomeâ€¦ we believe Brussels now needs a series of key projects, real projects, specific projects, acupuncture points, made in actual contexts in need of change and revitalizationâ€¦ The definition of an urban form on the Rue de la Loi and its surroundings encapsulates best this potential and the new relevance that Brussels wants to stand for today and for the years to come. Here the needs and ambitions of the European Union will meet the aspirations of private developers, the Region and the city of Brussels to crystallize into a new symbiotic neighborhood.
The European Unionâ€™s motto is â€˜United in diversityâ€™. There is a clear maturity that understands the complexities and maybe incapacities of creating a singular union. The European project is in movement and embraces its differences of components and actors, currents and to become. By essence it outlines a body that is undefined in shape, size and taste. There has been sufficient writings made on the definition of the European machine to avoid another attempt. We will extract a few aspects that seem sufficiently recurrent to hold relevance in our quest for a European project as suchâ€¦
The Union grows. In 50 years more than 20 countries have been added to the 6 founders. The Union hasnâ€™t profiled itself with architecture unlike other institutions tend to do. The EU is located in Brussels and aims at solidifying its presence in the Belgian capital The Union is in the making. The Union is not finalized.
Our idea is to invite talented architects from every country in the EU to create a building within the masterplanâ€¦
â€¦providing a diverse yet unified landscape.
We have two principle but opposite aims: to create density and to create open space.
We want the European Quarter to become the new green urban space within the acupuncture of parks in Brusselsâ€¦
â€¦and on a micro level have green on each plot of land connected and activated by surrounding buildings.
One of the core ideas of the master plan is to create permeability among what is now two isolated communities on either side of Rue de la Loi.
The European Quarter should be about identity, density permeability and open space seamlessly intertwinedâ€¦
â€¦creating an image of the EU from Brussels without competing with Brussels itself.
Each site then becomes a scientific analysis of the parameters and a unique answer to sun, wind, setback, view and permeabilityâ€¦
â€¦in the end transforming the European Quarter to a park within the structure of Brusselsâ€¦
â€¦connecting Parc de Bruxelles / Warandepark to Parc du Cinquantenaire / Jubelpark.
The European Quarter should mirror the political identity of the European Union as green, open, accessible and transparent.
It should create a new headquarters for the EU that embodies all the values of their politics while stitching its environment to the context of Brussels.
â€¦the masterplan should work on local scale, connecting the city and bridging the gap of the height mass and density of the neighboursâ€¦
â€¦while at the same time becoming an icon for the European Union in Brusselsâ€¦
â€¦from all the major public spaces and viewsâ€¦
â€¦creating finally an image which is â€œUnited in Diversityâ€.
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