The Belgian Buildings Agency and the Department of Justice recently announced the winners of their Brussels Courthouse: Imagine the Future International Ideas Competition. To make the issues of architecture and urban design more widely known, BOZAR Architecture has backed this initiative by hosting the awards ceremony and staging an exhibition of the entries at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels until May 15th. More images and description of winning entries after the break.
The Brussels Courthouse, a major architectural symbol in Brussels built between 1866 and 1883 by architect Joseph Poelaert, is hard to secure and complex to modernize. A particularly strong view is necessary to handle its modernization as well as the preservation of its listed features at one time. This is the framework in which the Belgian Federal Government decided, during Belgium’s Presidency of the European Union, to launch an international ideas contest designed to examine possible future uses of the Brussels Courthouse and the surroundings of Place Poelaert.
Results of the contest:
A jury selected three prizes for each scenario.
Scenario 1: courthouse (partially) keeping its judicial functions
First prize-winner: Temporary Association Palace of Justice Brussels from Belgium (T.O.P. office, Expo68) with ‘Redeveloping the basement of the Palace of Justice’
Second prize-winner: Surentu / De Mul Architects from the Netherlands (A. De Mul, S. Surentu, S. van Mastbergen) with ‘A new quarter of Justice in Brussels, Judging in a contemporary environment’
Third prize-winner: City 4 from the Netherlands (Philip Mannaerts, Linda Holvast, Jue Qiu, Yan Shi) with ‘Elysium – A public destination underneath the courthouse’
Scenario 2: courthouse cleared of its judicial functions
First prize-winner: Scale from Belgium (Géraldine Lacasse, Julie Collet) with ‘Pas de Palais, Pas de Palais’
Second prize-winner: Graphical arch from Belgium (Gilles Ramaekers) with ‘Rencontre urbaine’
Third prize-winner: Pierre Silande and Mickael Papin from France with ‘Rue du Palais’
The exhibition draws attention to the key questions of the debate about the future of the Brussels Courthouse, its architecture, its location in the city and its use. What can the courthouse symbolize in the future? How can the history of the spot remain visible? How can the monumentality of this icon be preserved? How can this part of town play a role in the dynamism of Brussels? Can this historical architecture function in contemporary society?
The exhibition is a co-production of the Belgian buildings Agency, the Federal Public Service – Justice, A+ Belgian magazine for architecture and BOZAR ARCHITECTURE. Architecture Workroom Brussels was asked to be the guest curator.