Gare Maritime

Architect: Neutelings Riedijk architecten with Bureau Bouwtechniek
Client: Extensa
Advisors: Boydens (techique, EPB), Ney & Partners (stability, Venac (acoustics), FPC (fire safety), Omgeving (environmental planning), Bopro (safety coordination, Breeam) 
Location: Brussels 
Surface: 73.000 m² 
Timing: 2017 - 2020 
Status: realized

© Sarah Blee
© BIM images BB
© Extensa (Block 1)

Project support I Collaboration

Construction of new volumes and open areas within the existing station caps in the Gare Maritime.

Winner of the MIPIM Special Jury Award, Belgian Building Award 2021 categorie Utility BuildingEuropean Heritage Awards/Europa Nostra Award (2021), Uli Award for Excellence 2021, ARC20 Architecture Award (2020), RES 2020 AwardBelgian Timber Construction Award (2020), WPP symposium Award (2020), Belgian Construction Award (2020) and Fireforum Award (2019).

The building
The station consists of 7 station caps that date from the beginning of the 20 st century: 3 main former train aisles with a wingspan of 26 meters and 4 lower former platform hallls. The whole is made of iron, cast iron and glass. The pillars have Art Nouveau curls, the wooden roof rests on elegant arches.

The halls are 280 meters deep and 140 meters wide. The peaks of the roof are 23 meters high.

The project
By the installment of 12 separate building blocks with a footprint of 1,450 square meters and 4 floors, 34.000 square meters will be added to the 39,000 square meter area of the station hall.

On the ground floor there will be shops, showrooms and catering establishments, offices will be housed on the upper floors.


  • In the side halls there is built with Cross Laminated Timber. A first for Belgium on this scale. 
  • Advice atypical fire connections and fire penetrations CLT
  • Architecturally correct connection of valuable patrimony and new construction. 
  • Optimization of the implementation method. 
  • Appointment of executors 

A thorough analysis of the existing materials resulted in a maximum preservation of the existing monument. For example, 90% of the wooden roofs, including signage from the early 20th century, could be preserved.

The design is based on a modular system that can easily be integrated into the existing spatial structure of trusses and columns. In addition, the modular elements with the same dimensions increase compatibility and reusability. 

The choice of construction in CLT and finishing in oak (FSC), both light and springy materials of European origin, greatly reduces the amount of cement and thus avoids the emission of 3,500 tonnes of CO2. For the paving, the existing cobblestones, blue stone, Stelcon concrete slabs and wooden track elements are stored, processed and reused on site.

An important challenge was the correct implantation of the new building volumes in relation to the steel structure of the existing halls. To analyze the geometry of these existing steel constructions, a 3D point cloud was created using laser scans.

An equally big challenge was the modeling of the wooden joinery in the new volumes. The BIM models architecture and stability were used to view all connections of different elements in 3D and to assess the finer points of the proposed construction details.

See also Renovation outer shell Gare Maritime

Bureau Bouwtechniek BB is responsible for the complete technical support of the architect and is responsible for the technical assistance during the design process, the preparation of the implementation plans, the elaboration of technical details, the preparation of the architectural specifications and the estimate. BB supervises the execution.

BB team: prof. arch. Jan Moens, ir. arch. Nadja Van Houten, ir. arch. Gretel De Smet, ir. arch. Jan-Hendrik Beckx, ir. arch. Paulus Present, arch. Kathleen Rens, ing. Martin Vyncke, arch. arch. Bart Van den Bossche, ir. arch. Stephanie Van Goethem, ir. arch. Gert Biebauw