OMA to add horizontal headquarters for National Railway Company of Belgium
By Justine Testado|
Tuesday, Feb 25, 2020
OMA unveiled their winning design for the new Brussels headquarters of SNCB NMBS, the National Railway Company of Belgium. Working with local Belgian practice Jaspers-Eyers Architects, OMA will add a new 11-story, 236-meter-long horizontal volume that will be built alongside a historic trio of buildings at the Brussels-South station, along Fonsny Avenue.
Unoccupied for the last two decades, the trio comprises the former Tri Postal sorting house and two office buildings, which were designed by different architects and realized as an ensemble for the 1958 World's Fair. With OMA's new building, the project will bring together 4,000 SNCB employees.
The new and old buildings will have a total area of 75,000 m2, which is divided into three formal zones — the public Front-Office, the Mid-Office, and the Back-Office, OMA explains.
The street-facing public Front-Office features a three-story entrance lobby, as well as retail spaces and visible access points that make the street more appealing to passers-by. Located in the former Tri Postal building, the Mid-Office will have conference and training rooms, a 200-seat auditorium, fitness center, and restaurant. The Back-Office occupies the two former office buildings and the new HQ. Rooftop gardens will be “quilted across” each of the three original buildings, OMA says.
OMA draws from the “cross-characterful elements” of the existing buildings in their design of the SNCB headquarters. At 236 by 19 meters, the new building features a “sheer, cliff-like” facade with “un-fritted portholes”. The facade also offers passers-by a glimpse into the interior to convey a sense of transparency and openness to the public. “There is no back to the building in conventional terms [...] Two faces, two aspects”, OMA adds. “The project aims to effect a sublime contrast between the old, and the not yet old. It proposes an expansion of the original ensemble”.
Find project drawings in the gallery below.
Orhan Ayyüce · Feb 27, 20 1:35 AM
Good decisions for the right places on this project by OMA, I find it parametric and fluid. A building responding to everything around and inside such as program reveal to public, urban scale super graphics, organizing use of the window types, furniture, it goes on and on. This will be an exciting building day and night and would be interesting to see it from a moving train, given the length of the building would cause a moving illusion to the passenger. A train and an ocean liner of a building passing each other especially at night and triggering linear dreams...
Gary Garvin · Feb 27, 20 9:09 PM
Thanks for this, Orhan.
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