Transitie van de DBDMH-site Helihavenlaan Brussel

We investigated the feasibility of the site's repurposing possibilities and did a sustainability analysis during the process.
  • Partners: Miss Miyagi, Bulk Architecten, Karuur Architecten, Bureau Bouwtechniek, IRS

  • Client: sau/msi

  • Budget: € 120.000

  • Timing: 2021 - 2023

  • Status: Executed


The site currently housing the Brussels fire brigade forms a microcosm in the city. Across the entire surface of a building block near Brussels North, there is a cluster of unique buildings: from an underground, double-height garage into which fire trucks can drive, over a 24/7 manned control centre to a tower that is set on fire during intervention exercises. Each of the buildings has its architectural individuality but the materials used still make the site feel very much like one.

Firefighters leave the buildings in the near future. High time to scrutinise the feasibility of the site's repurposing possibilities. We mapped these using a comprehensive scenario study.


Analysis phase

An extensive analysis phase began with an examination of the structural and stability qualities of each building in the cluster. In addition, we carried out a potential scan in which the architectural and heritage qualities were also examined. The buildings are not protected monuments, but as the study shows, they can be considered "young heritage".

The site is also located at an impressive urban planning hub. Historically because of the Manhattan Plan of Brussels North. But certainly also in the near future because of the ambitious plans for the Canal Zone and the redevelopment of Maximilian Park. The urban planning perspective, looking ahead to the situation in 2030, was also discussed in detail in the analysis phase.

Finally, using a TOTEM analysis, we examined how the buildings currently score in terms of sustainability. This goes beyond mere energy consumption; the softening of the site was also examined, as were mobility aspects and the actual use of materials.


Scenario study

On the basis of the thorough potential scan, an extensive programming and spatial scenario study was carried out. We did this on the basis of a number of demolition scenarios in which extreme infills and approaches were examined. Examples include maximum demolition (with the exception of the buildings and building sections considered of heritage value), or the complete infilling of the site with a uniform programme (e.g. living or working).

The project team refined the demolition scenarios into a master plan focusing on two possible scenarios:

  • one with mainly residential infill, and
  • one with mainly offices.

The spatial impact of the two scenarios was deliberately very different.

Both scenarios were analysed throughout the process. And this using the parameters that were also used to screen the existing buildings, supplemented by an estimate of the order of magnitude of the cost of each option.

For the financial aspects, a tool was developed in which variations could be analysed simply and quickly by adjusting the gross floor area per programme.

Project team

We carried out the structural engineering and energy audit of the existing buildings in the feasibility study, complemented by the sustainability analysis throughout the project and supporting the cost estimation of the scenarios.

Miss Miyagi was in charge of project coordination and participation and financing aspects, Bulk Architects for the architectural and urban planning analysis and scenario aspects, Karuur Architects for the architectural and heritage analysis and scenario aspects, and IRS for the stability aspects.


Meet our project staff

From Team Renovation, Restoration & Maintenance (3)

BB Arno oct 2014

ir. arch. Arno Van Hulle

Project architect
Maintenance consultant
E-mail |
Katalin 569 A0733 Gemiddeld

arch. Katalin Urban

Technical expert
E-mail |

arch. ass. Tuur Van Dijck

Advisor flat roofs
Safety coordinator
E-mail |

From Team Sustainability, Energy & Comfort (2)

BB Robbe oct2014

ir. arch. Robbe Verelst

Energy and sustainability advisor
Building physics engineer
E-mail |
Katrien 569 A0552 Gemiddeld

ir. arch. Katrien Van Lierop

Energy and sustainability advisor
E-mail |
TAGS: Feasibility study| Durability