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Royal Belge destiny finally set

Image: Brussels Bouwmeester
Image: Brussels Bouwmeester

Caruso St John Architects, a London based firm, is to be the next to take on one of Brussels’ most iconic buildings of the modern era. Together with Antwerp architects Bovenbouw Architecten, it has won the competition launched by the Brussels Bouwmeester to reconvert Boulevard du Souverain 25 (‘The Royal Belge’), the former headquarters of Axa, to new uses.

This news finally completes the destiny of a giant building (57,000 m²) which was, at one stage, set to become the new American Embassy. It will now be turned into a mixed use complex of 42,000 m² comprising apartments, offices, a co-working space, a hotel, a conference hall and a fitness centre. Within this context, the building will therefore be very much in line with the times, and will doubtless add to the attraction of the setting (Boitsfort) in which it is located.

The architects have indicated that much of the conversion work (where the exterior is concerned) will be at the rear, where new entrances will be created. Overall, the building is listed by the Brussels authorities and the envelope will have to be retained largely as it is. On its website, Caruso St John Architects say the work is expected to be completed in 2023.
Tim Harrup

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