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Competition: Citroën Cultural Centre, Brussels

An international competition has been announced to design a €125 million outpost of the Pompidou Centre in Brussels, Belgium (Deadline: 6 June)

Backed by the Development Corporation of the Brussels-Capital Region, the contest seeks proposals to transform an Art Deco Citroën garage in the city centre into a multipurpose museum focusing on contemporary art and architecture.

The 35,000m² project, dubbed the Citroën Cultural Centre, is supported by Paris’s Pompidou Centre, which will occupy around 15,000m² of the completed structure. The waterfront complex will also host a separate 10,000m² architecture museum, operated by Brussels’ International Centre for Urbanism, Architecture & Landscape, while the remaining 10,000m² is earmarked for public cultural, educational and recreational events.

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Source: Image by SAU-MSI

Contest site: Citroën Yser

The competition brief reads: ‘In a multicultural city like Brussels, where co-existence is a daily reality, we need places that bring us together, places that innovate, places that create, places that forge links. This Citroën Cultural Centre will create a connection between all the people of Brussels.

‘The idea is to develop a multidisciplinary cultural venue by creating two new museums in Brussels: one dedicated to modern and contemporary art, and the other to architecture. All forms of cultural creativity will have a place here: the visual arts and architecture, of course, but also dance, drama, film, literature and music.’

The contest site, known as Citroën Yser, is a 1930s Art Deco car factory, designed by French architect Maurice-Jacques Ravazé and Belgian architects Alexis Dumont and Marcel Van Goethem. The complex occupies a prominent plot in the centre of the Belgian capital, overlooking the city’s main canal.

The new competition comes 46-years after Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano won a contest to design the original Pompidou Centre in Paris. There is also a Pompidou Centre in the north-eastern French town of Metz, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, which opened in 2010.

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Source: Image by Bing Maps

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Interested parties must first submit an application detailing their team and outline vision for the new museum. Seven shortlisted teams will then be invited to draw up more detailed proposals for the site.

The judging panel will include Roger Diener of Basel-based Diener & Diener Architects, French architect Patrick Berger, Chilean architect Sofia von Ellrichshausen, and Pompidou Centre chair Steven Guttman. The winner is set to be announced in March 2018.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 11am local time on 6 June.

Contact details

Email: citroen@sau-msi.brussels

Visit the competition website

View the contract notice for more information

Register with Exporting is Great for advice and support

Q&A with Yves Goldstein

The government coordinator for the Citroën Cultural Centre discusses his ambitions for the contest

Yves Goldstein

Yves Goldstein

Yves Goldstein

Why are your holding an international contest for a Citroen Cultural Centre in Brussels?

The Citroën Garage is an iconic building in Brussels – a well-known landmark and a witness to our capital’s industrial past. The Brussels Region’s desire to establish a 35,000 m2 ‘total’ cultural centre was worthy of an international competition to select our project architect. The building presents numerous possibilities, and I very much hope that the competing teams will show plenty of imagination.

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Source: Image by SAU-MSI

Contest site: Citroën Yser

What is your vision for the Citroen Cultural Centre?

The aim is to develop a global cultural centre primarily consisting of two major museums: a museum of modern and contemporary art (15,000 m2) and an architecture centre (10,000 m2). We want this development to be carried out in a way that respects André Citroën’s historic building, not least by creating enormous public interior spaces (measuring 10,000 m2) which will guide the flow of visitors within the cultural centre. The winning project must comply with the principles of sustainable development and the High Quality Environmental standard, and of course also be a practical design for the use of visitors and staff.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

The best, hopefully! Whether they’re young and unknown, or international stars from Belgium or elsewhere, we’ve set fairly open selection criteria. Out of all the teams that apply, we’ll make an initial shortlist of seven. These will submit an overall plan to an international panel chaired by the Swiss architect Roger Diener.

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Source: Image by SAU-MSI

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects be procured?

The Urban Development Corporation is working on a series of large-scale projects in Brussels, some of which are the subject of architectural competitions. For example, it received 51 applications in the first phase of the competitive tender organised for the ‘Media House’ of the future mediapark.brussels. It will also be developing a number of entire districts over the next few years. I would recommend that any of your readers who would like to be kept informed about these opportunities visit our website and subscribe to the newsletter. As far as the area around the Citroën Cultural Centre is concerned, this is a fast-changing part of Brussels. A huge park will be created on the opposite bank of the canal, and numerous private projects (offices, housing and so on) have been or are being developed there. An industrial company has held an architectural competition to improve its integration in the city. The SAU-MSI itself isn’t developing any other projects in this district at the moment, but it is coordinating the implementation of the Canal Plan, which aims to boost economic activity, create housing, improve public spaces, and promote functional and population diversity.

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Contest site: Citroën Yser

Source: Image by SAU-MSI

Contest site: Citroën Yser

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