Gare Maritime, once Europe’s largest railway station for goods on the Tour & Taxis site in Brussels, has been transformed into a covered city with a mixed program of working and shopping and plenty of public space to relax. Under impressive steel roofs Neutelings Riedijk Architects designed the new Gare Maritime as a city district; ‘a city where it never rains’.
The old station from the beginning of the 20th century consists of three larger and four smaller halls. Under the existing roofs of the side aisles, twelve new pavilions have been added to accommodate the new program. They create a new structure of boulevards and street, gardens and squares, that follows the existing urban context and the building structure in a natural way, like a true city. The central space in the heart of the building has been kept open for public events. It has a pleasant climate which follows the changing of the seasons. Inspired by the ‘Ramblas’, on both sides of the event space a green walking boulevard is created. The 16 meters wide pedestrian routes give enough room for spacious inner gardens, with a hundred large trees.
The new pavilions have been constructed in Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). The choice for wood also had a favorable effect on the construction process: thanks to prefabrication and the dry constructing method, the construction time was considerably shorter.
Gare Maritime is entirely energy neutral and fossil free. The glass facades on Picardstreet are provided with solar cells. On the roofs a total area of 17,000 m2 of solar panels has been installed. At all levels far-reaching sustainability measures have been implemented, such as use of geothermal energy and reuse of rainwater. Gare Maritime is an important contribution to the sustainable development of the Tour & Taxis site and the Kanaalzone in Brussels.