The planning permission application for Kanal – Centre Pompidou was filed at the end of February. Brussels’ future cultural hub will be home to a Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, but also involves redeveloping the neighbourhood.
Transforming the Sainctelette-Yser area, near to the canal, dubbed ‘Little Manchester’ at the time of its industrial expansion, has not been an easy task. Cars abounded. The area was cluttered. And the relationship between the glass walls and the inhabitants was tenuous. At present, culture is being used as a means to transform the neighbourhood. Indeed, the planning permission application to revamp the former Citroën garage has finally been filed. Atelier Kanal, made up of three architectural firms (Noa, Belgium – Sergisson Bates, Great Britain – EM2N, Switzerland) is to convert the former Citroën garage into a cultural temple that is an integral part of the neighbourhood.
Scheduled for the end of this year, the redevelopment work should last three years. The Kanal project is not to be forgotten or put on hold, however. In 2020, the six-level showroom (away from the building site) will open. Atelier Kanal, the consortium of three architectural firms, hopes to obtain the building permit at the beginning of 2020 and start the structural work in March of next year.
Furthermore, in 2020, the Kanal teams will still be using spaces in the former showroom. In 2021 and 2022, extramural exhibitions will be organised. They also hope for the redevelopment work to be completed by the end of 2022 so as to inaugurate the contemporary art museum in its final form by the beginning of the summer 2023. The official opening of Kanal-Centre Pompidou is scheduled for 2023.
At the same time, the junction between the Petite Ceinture (Small Ring) and the canal is also to be redesigned as a zone for walking and gathering along the water’s edge. Sainctelette will finally regain its position as a tree-lined, well-lit, essentially pedestrian urban zone. In this instance, Agence Ter, Karbon and Arcadis have entirely redesigned the junction. With the added bonus of a bridge-cum-square overlooking the canal and a forecourt in front of the Kanal.