12 Gare Maritime BB Sarah Blee HR 3817
Together with Neutelings Riedijk architects, we were at the helm of the new infill of the old Gare Maritime station hall on the Tour&Taxis site in Brussels.
Biggest CLT project in Europe
  • Architect: Neutelings Riedijk architects i.c.w. Bureau Bouwtechniek

  • Client: Extensa

  • Surface: 73.000 m²

  • Budget: € 85.000.000

  • Timing: 2017 - 2020

  • Status: Executed

  • Photographer: Sarah Blee - Filip Dujardin

  • Advisors: Boydens (technologies, EPB), Ney & Partners (stability), Venac (acoustics), FPC (fire safety), Environment (environmental construction), Bopro (safety coordination, Breeam)

11 Gare Maritime NRA Filip Dujardin HR 3813

The building

The station consists of 7 linked station hoods dating from the early 20th century: 3 main aisles - where trains once ran - with a span of 26 metres and 4 lower platform halls. The whole is constructed of iron, cast iron and glass. The supporting pillars have Art Nouveau scrolls, the wooden roof rests on elegant arches.

The halls are 280 metres deep and 140 metres wide. The peaks of the canopy are 23 metres high.

Gare Maritime project

The story of the building, the renovation and repurposing of what is today a new attraction in Brussels. A punishing feat of craftsmanship and collaboration.

1 Gare Maritime copyright Extensa 3440

The project

The 39,000-square-metre area of the station will gain an additional 34,000 square metres by incorporating 12 separate building blocks with a footprint of 1,450 square metres and four storeys.

The ground floor will house shops, showrooms or catering outlets, while the upper floors will house offices.
The pavilions blend into the rhythm of the cast-iron trusses and columns. Between them, a structure of boulevards, streets, parks and squares emerges; like a real city.
architect Michiel Riedijk

Biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge consisted of finding the appropriate substantive, design and technical possibilities within the limits and architectural language of an outdated but powerful and qualitative building. Combining material analyses with the execution of both local and larger repairs, as well as measuring the quality and estimating the remaining lifespan of the materials present also provided additional challenges.

Fire-safe design

Together with FPC Risk, we worked out the fire safety concept. The challenge was to scrutinise a hall of almost 40,000 m2, where the distance to the exits rises to 70m in the least favourable places.

An additional challenge presented itself during the realisation of the covered city. As CLT is a fairly recent construction material, few materials were tested in combination with CLT walls.

09 Gare Maritime NRA Filip Dujardin HR 3815


  • In the side halls, construction is taking place with Cross Laminated Timber. A first for Belgium on this scale.
  • Advice on atypical fire connections and penetrations CLT.
  • Architecturally correct connection of valuable heritage and new construction.
  • Optimisation of execution methods.
  • Appointment of executors.
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A thorough analysis of the existing materials resulted in maximum preservation of the existing monument. As a result, 90% of the wooden roofs, including signs, from the early 20th century could be retained.

The design is based on a modular system that easily integrates into the existing spatial structure of trusses and columns. The modular elements with the same dimensions increase compatibility and reusability.

The choice of a construction in CLT and finishing in oak (FSC), both light and renewable materials of European origin, ensures a large reduction in the quantity of cement and thus avoids the emission of 3,500 tonnes of CO2. For the paving, the existing cobblestones, bluestone, Stelcon concrete slabs and wooden track elements are stored, processed and reused on site.

As the executive architect, we help the designing architects with all construction-technical and financial issues so that they can fully concentrate on the design. We also monitor the execution and ensure that the objectives and plan are always crystal clear for all partners, so that together we can make our dreams come true.

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State-of-the-art in sustainability

Gare Maritime is completely energy-neutral and fossil-free. The glass facades on Picardstraat are fitted with solar cells and a total area of 17,000 m2 of solar panels has been installed on the highest roofs. At all levels - construction, installation, circular use of materials, greenery, health - far-reaching sustainability measures have been realised, such as the use of geothermal heat pumps as the sole source of heating and reuse of rainwater to water the gardens. The techniques were in the hands of boydens engineering.

"We wanted to bring back the glory of yesteryear. All materials were inventoried and technically assessed to further flesh out the design even at a later stage. In addition, the building had to be perfectly habitable. Each intervention optimises energy use and aims to bring in as much natural daylight as possible. In terms of ventilation, cooling and lighting, the most advanced technical installations are provided. There are also 10,000 solar panels on the roof and the site uses geothermal energy and maximum rainwater recovery. No fossil fuels are used throughout Gare Maritime for heating or cooling."

CHOICE BB Tour Taxis 55 A6874 3455

Flexible pavilions and a healthy working environment

Gare Maritime's design focused on creating healthy workspace with bright, open and inspiring workplaces. The wooden pavilions are composed of a ground floor and two storeys, with a further mezzanine floor below the ridge. Oak showcases on the ground floor also form balconies for the offices above. The pavilions are interconnected by several sculptural oak 'cross stairs' above the interior streets. Within a modular system with freely dividable floor areas, different functions can easily be accommodated, such as offices, shops, showrooms and production spaces. By building twelve separate pavilions, each tenant is given its own address and Gare Maritime remains a project on a human scale.

03 Gare Maritime NRA Filip Dujardin HR 3811

Lessons learned?

The scale of the building made prior investigation by specialists unthinkable both in terms of time and budget. The exercise of carrying out the analysis, surveying and repair in one move resulted in a major cost optimisation.

The speed of prefabrication capabilities and dry construction, without drying time and energy, exceeds expectations. Moreover, due to the proximity of the Canal, transport can be done via water, resulting in a reduction of the project's ecological and logistical impact.

The fact that betting on the redevelopment of the station halls is a sustainable renovation is proven by the BREEAM Excellent certificate obtained for the first block already in use.

How Jansen by ODS Gare Marit!ime helped make it circular

Jansen by ods, made a substantial contribution to the circularity of the new Gare Maritime in Brussels with its steel façade profile systems.

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002194 CAM01 20181127 PP 3127


A key challenge was to correctly plot the new building volumes against the steel structure of the existing halls. To analyse the geometry of these existing steel structures, a 3D point cloud was created using laser scans.

Equally challenging was the modelling of the wooden joinery in the new volumes. The BIM models architecture and stability were used to view all the connections of different elements in 3D and assess the finer details of the proposed building details.

Meet our Gare Maritime project team

From Team Architecture (private sector Antwerp, Limburg, Flemish Brabant and Brussels) (5)

Jan Moens kennispartner 3379

prof. arch. Jan Moens

General Director
Head of Research & Development Department
Managing Director
E-mail |
CHOICE 569 A2001

ir. arch. Nadja Van Houten

E-mail |
Gretel De Smet

ir. arch. Gretel De Smet

Project architect
E-mail |
Kathleen 569 A3540 Gemiddeld

arch. Kathleen Rens

Project architect
E-mail |
Gert 569 A0619 Gemiddeld

ir. arch. Gert Biebauw

Project architect
Financial director
E-mail |

From Team Computer Aided Design & BIM (2)


prof. ir. arch. Paulus Present

BIM manager
Technical designer
E-mail |
Bart choice 719976

arch. Bart Van den Bossche

Technical designer
BIM modeller
E-mail |

From Team Sustainability, Energy & Comfort (1)

B B Martijn Vyncke 8087 Large

ing. Martijn Vyncke

Energy advisor
Daylight expert
Consultant technical installations
E-mail |

From Team Renovation, Restoration & Maintenance (1)

Stephanie Van Goethem

ir. arch. Stephanie Van Goethem

Project architect
Facade renovation consultant
Expert damage diagnosis and repair of concrete
E-mail |
TAGS: BIM| Executive architect| Circular building| Durability| Reconversion