'Mobilis' set to last 100 years

Tim Harrup

The development of the canal zone located between the South Station and the entrance to the E 40 Ostend motorway, continues. Following on from (among other projects) Atenor’s City Dox and Eaglestone’s Nautilus, work has just started on ‘Mobilis’ on the opposite corner from this latter, at the junction of the Boulevard Industriel and the Boulevard Paepsem in Anderlecht. The Mobilis project, however, is not being developed by either of these two companies, or by Befimmo, Axa, AG Real Estate… but by D’Ieteren Immo. The largest (by far) importer of Volkswagen cars in to Belgium for many decades is behind this scheme, on a site which those familiar with the entrance to the E 40 will recognize as having for many years been home to a SEAT dealership – SEAT being a member of the VW group.

Mobilis will see some 35,000 m² of space dedicated to economic activity, spread across six floors. The si te area itself extends to 10,4 hectares. The concept behind the construction renders it somewhat unique in modern times, as it is designed to last 100 years! Ahead of 40 national and international architectural bureaux, Architect Xaveer De Geyter won the architectural competition launched in 2018 with the collaboration of Kristiaan Borret, the Brussles Master Architect

Architect Xaveer De Geyter explains: “The basic idea is not to create a building which can be forever adapted to new activities, but to imagine a structure in which all types of activity are possible”. This is set to be achieved by integrating floor areas which can be dismantled, and by providing roof heights of seven metres. The urban industries and light production activities will be located alongside what is described by D’Ieteren as ‘the garage of the future’. Along with all this, Mobilis contributes to the aims of the master plan for the Canal zone established by Alexandre Chemetoff, which calls for economic activities to be retained within an urban setting, alongside residential accommodation and services. The canal itself will serve as a logistics artery. <

View the video showcasing the project >>

In concrete terms, the ecological objectives of the project will be met in a number of ways. Its resistance to climate change are expected to lead to ‘Breeam Outstanding’ certification and will come through neutral energy consumption thanks to solar panels, geo-thermal systems, light input via patios and intelligent energy metres. A rooftop urban farm may even serve a possible future restaurant. Circularity during construction, from the re-use of materials existing on the site to worksite practices and the bio-diversity of the surrounding areas also play their part. With this, Mobilis was named as a winner in the Be Circular project of the Brussels Region in 2020.

Provisional reception of the project, and thus its availability to future tenants, is scheduled 2023. D’Ieteren Immo is set to pursue its policy of ‘Invest and Hold’ and thus to keep Mobilis in its portfolio over the long term.