Green light for SNCB new headquartersTOWN PLANNING
The Brussels Government took yesterday the final decision to issue the planning permit for the renovation and extension of the SNCB buildings on the site of the former postal sorting office at the Brussels-South station. The works will be commissioned by the SNCB with the objective of bringing together more than 4,000 SNCB and HR Rail employees on this site.
The architectural project led by OMA includes Jaspers–Eyers and Assar architects. It schedules the retention of all three existing buildings on the Avenue Fonsny with the addition on top of a parallel extension. The new linear volume new volume, characterised by large round windows, will be located on the side of the tracks, at greater distance from the street limiting its visual impact from street level. Moreover, this will free up space on the roof of the existing buildings enabling to create roof gardens and terraces. This new headquarters with more than double the existing office surface of 30,000 m².
A urban development landmark Pascal Smet, Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism underlines: “The project's architecture is top-notch. Le Tri Postal - the former postal sorting office, has great heritage value and will be preserved and upgraded, bringing back its soul. The building will be completed by a contemporary eye-catcher. A beautiful interaction between old and new. And for me this also symbolises Brussels, where we respect our past, but also have to look to the future with an open and ambitious mind.”
Today, the former postal buildings form a blind wall of more than 370 metres along Avenue Fonsny. This will change. The ground floor on the street side will be activated. In addition to a spacious main entrance, several shops, bars and restaurants will bring life to the neighbourhood.
Minister-President Rudi Vervoort stated: “The government reaffirms its support for the planned headquarters of the SNCB at Brussels-South Station. This is an important step for the neighbourhood and its future. Indeed, the station plays a strong historical and symbolic role. In the coming years, many urban renewal funds will be invested in the neighbourhood to support and complement this project, in order to offer a quality environment to locals, Brusselers and visitors to our capital.”
Sustainable real estate The SNCB board of directors designated the consortium which is going to build their new headquarters. It is made up of Besix, BPC group, BPI real estate and Immobel. Engineering bureau Greisch is also on board. Sustainable renovation is crucial in the site's renewal. It will be a passive building, with solar panels on the roof of the new linear volume and special attention to biodiversity and the upcycling of materials.
The centralisation of the SNCB offices in the new headquarters will free up several existing buildings in the area. This will create new opportunities to develop other urban functions, such as housing. They include the “France-Bara” and “Delta-Zennewater” buildings in Rue de France and “Atrium” in Avenue de la Porte de Hal.