KCAP Architects & Planners present their vision today for NEO Brussels, the redevelopment of the Heysel plateau, , to the political arena, the press and the public. The team, KCAP working together with advisors Arup and Fakton, won the international design competition in September 2010. The area is one of the most strategic locations in the Brussels Metropole Region. The design for NEO Brussels aims to strengthen the significance of the Heysel, and to qualify it within a framework for sustainable development. More images and complete press release after the break.
A masterplan for the Heysel is being developed for the first time since the 1958 World’s Fair. “This requires a strong vision that integrates Brussels, Belgium and Europe in one place,” says Kees Christiaanse, partner of KCAP and ‘Urbaniste en chef’ for NEO.
The site, approximately 68 acres in size, will develop into a mixed urban program, including an international conference center, a regional shopping center, a museum, leisure functions, housing and a park. With an investment of 900 million Euros, it is Belgium’s largest mixed urban redevelopment.
The master plan allows for the phasing of built programme, public space and infrastructure. Phase 1 is expected to start from 2014 with the construction of the retail centre. The completion of the entire plan is expected around 2025.
The Heysel area already plays a significant social, cultural and economic role for the whole of Belgium and far beyond. After the Brussels City Centre, the Heysel is the second major city centrality in the Brussels agglomeration. With the presence of important functions like the Expo, the Stadium, the Atomium and other tourist attractions the site already attracts more than 1.5 million visitors per year.
NEO Brussels aims for a vision of urban redevelopment that is integrated from different perspectives. It reinforces the international image and establishes a meeting place for people. It creates a new gateway into Brussels, a “transferium” between public transport and private transport with central urban functions. Laurens Tait of Arup, advisors on infrastructure and planning, comments that “the site has some extremely exciting characteristics and together with the Brussels authorities we are working on creating a flagship project with a world class technical specification”.
NEO Brussels is also a park. A powerful green space of more than 25 acres that connects and that is accessible to all visitors and residents. This green structure offers great potentials for sport, for cycling and for walking. Above all NEO is a ‘Grand Projet’ with the structure of a rich history. The architecture and public spaces must reflect the optimism and future-focus of the world fair.