From industrial goods station to energy-neutral urban hub.
Gare Maritime was once Europe’s biggest goods station. But by the 1990s the imposing station halls stood vacant. After complete renovation, the complex is now the go-to circular city destination in Brussels. This one-time commodities hub has been transformed into an impactful idea platform.
Tour Taxis is a go-ahead neighbourhood in the dynamic Brussels canal district. A home for trailblazers: creative forward-looking people and businesses who are focused on making a positive difference. At Tour Taxis they find an inspiring place to live, work and play. A place where doers and dreamers feed and accelerate each other’s ideas to take them to the next level. Gare Maritime is a new, ground-breaking Tour Taxis destination: an indoor village – covering more than six football pitches – with plenty of space for innovative, sustainable retail concepts.
Buzzing indoor village
Gare Maritime is imposing and inviting. The traditional spirit of the station halls has been retained. But the design is resolutely modern. This buzzing indoor village is the ideal home for emerging and established brands and businesses. The oaken pavilions create a covered network of boulevards, streets, squares and gardens. Perfectly suited to use as offices, shops, showrooms and production spaces. The show windows on the ground floor form the balconies of the offices above. The pavilions are linked by sculptural timber stairways that intersect and overlap. The architectural eye-catcher is the monumental central atrium, which is bathed in natural daylight. Ideal for events of all sizes. The food hall is the natural place to meet for residents, visitors and workers alike. It’s home to bustling bars, hip restaurants, tempting terraces and delightful eateries. The green pedestrianized boulevards on either side of the central atrium are lined with 10 themed gardens and numerous tall trees. It’s as if the adjacent park flows into the building. The impressive mosaic floors of the eight inner squares are designed by the Brussels-based visual artist Henri Jacobs.
Gare Maritime is attractive, innovative, and ambitious. A buzzing hub for discovery and interaction. Your new favourite destination for shopping, tasting, working and fun.
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Some impressive figures
● 9,700 m2 of retail opportunities: 30 unique spaces in various shapes and sizes, including 10 kiosks overlooking the green pedestrianized boulevards
● 7,500 m2 of public space
● A 2500 m2 food hall
● 10 themed gardens with lots of tall trees
● 8 squares, each with its own impressive mosaic floor inspired by regional Belgian products.
Wall of fame
● Winner of the Res Award 2020 in the Best Commercial Development category
The industrial station halls were retained but fully renovated. The imposing steel bearing structure was reinforced where needed. The steel columns were given a coat of fire-resistant paint and the historical timber roofs were sandblasted and restored on site. The station’s original cobblestones were recovered and flattened out for use in the building.
Sustainability was a constant concern during the renovation. Rotterdam-based architecture firm Neutelings Riedijk Architects prioritized the principles of circular construction. They opted for cross-laminated timber (CLT) with an (FSC) oak facade cladding for the pavilions in the station halls. This saved 3,500 tonnes in CO2 emissions during construction. Integrating some 10,000 m3 of timber, Gare Maritime is Europe’s biggest timber construction project.
Some impressive figures
● More than 40,000 m2 of available floor space
● Recovery and integration of 7500 m2 of historical cobblestones and 350 m2 of bluestone from the original platforms
● 10,000 m3 of timber for 12 units that can be used as office or retail space
Wall of fame
● Winner of the ARC20 Architecture Award
● Winner of the Belgian Timber Construction Award in the Non-residential Buildings category
● Winner of the Fireforum Award 2019 in the Fire-safety in Construction Projects - Newbuild, Building Renovation, Infrastructure... category
● Nominated for the EU Mies Award 2022
● Europa Nostra Award 2021
Innovative and CO2-neutral
Gare Maritime produces more renewable energy than it consumes, making it CO2-neutral. That directly benefits our Brussels neighbours in Molenbeek, who get to consume our surplus energy. The glass facades on Rue Picard are equipped with solar cells and on the highest roofs there are sufficient solar cells to produce 3,000 MWh of electricity a year. That’s enough for 850 households. The timber pavilions are heated and cooled by geothermal heat pumps. The station halls are equipped with natural ventilation. Some windows incorporate innovative Halio smart glass technology, which helps regulate incoming light and temperature in the building. But there’s more, because rainwater is collected in two large tanks for use in the inner gardens and to flush the toilets.
● 10,000 solar panels spread over an area of 17,000 m2
● 2 geothermal wells 140 m under the building
● 2 rainwater tanks of 1300 m3
Wall of fame
● Winner of the WPP Symposium Award 2020 in the Most Innovative Heat Pump category
● Tour Taxis targets BREEAM Excellent certification for Gare Maritime – a hallmark for sustainable buildings with a minimal environmental footprint.
With thanks to our construction trailblazers
● Architects: Neutelings Riedijk Architecten, Rotterdam in association with Bureau Bouwtechniek, Antwerp
● Design team: Michiel Riedijk, Willem Jan Neutelings, Dieter de Vos, Kenny Tang, Alejandro Mosquera Garcia, Alexey Boev, Anselmo Nižić, Frank Venhorst and Pietro Manara
● Restoration architect: Jan de Moffarts in association with Bureau Bouwtechniek
● Renovation stability study: Ney Partners BXL
● New pavilion stability study: Ney Partners WOW
● Building services engineering advice: Boydens engineering, Bruges
● Building physics firm: Boydens engineering, Bruges
● Landscape architect: OMGEVING, Antwerp
● Applied art: Henri Jacobs
● Cost advisor: Bureau Bouwtechniek, Antwerp
● Acoustics: Venac, Brussels
● Fire safety: FPC Risk, Antwerp
● Main contractor: MBG
● Timber construction contractor: Züblin
● Systems contractors: Cegelec, VMA, NTSA, Van Hoey IFTech
● Project management, safety coordination and BREEAM assessor: Bopro
Nextensa is a leading Belgian Real Estate investor and developer. We uncover opportunities and turn them into valuable growth for all stakeholders. Besides creating pioneering neighbourhoodsneighborhoods, we contribute to the community by anticipating trends and creating sustainable and lively spaces to live, work, relax and shop.
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