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Sergison Bates team wins Pompidou Brussels contest

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A team featuring Sergison Bates, Swiss firm EM2N and Belgian outfit noAarchitecten has won the competition to design Brussels’ £105 million Pompidou Centre 

The successful collaboration was chosen from a shortlist of seven multidisciplinary teams, which also included Caruso St John, 6a, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and OMA.

The contest to create a new outpost for the famous gallery attracted 92 entries with the star-studded longlist featuring major international names such as AL_A, David Chipperfield Architects, Foster + Partners, Heneghan Peng, 3XN, Morphosis, Kengo Kuma, Coop Himmelb(l)au, MVRDV, SANAA, Snøhetta and Sou Fujimoto.

The winning team will transform an Art Deco Citroën garage in the city centre into a multipurpose museum focusing on contemporary art and architecture. The scheme is backed by the Development Corporation of the Brussels-Capital Region. 

The full shortlist

  • NOA / EM2N / Sergison Bates – WINNER
  • 51N4E / Caruso St John Architects
  • ADVVT / AGWA / 6a architects
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro / JDS Architects
  • Lhoas & Lhoas / Ortner & Ortner
  • Office / Christ & Gantenbein
  • OMA

The 35,000m² project, to be called Kanal – Centre Pompidou, is supported by the 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.

Kanal noa em2n sba exterior view print

The winning proposal for Brussels’ £105 million Pompidou Centre designed by Sergison Bates, EM2N and noAarchitecten [March 2018] - exterior

The winning proposal for Brussels’ £105 million Pompidou Centre designed by Sergison Bates, EM2N and noAarchitecten [March 2018] - exterior

The competition brief read: ‘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.

There is also a Pompidou Centre in the north-eastern French town of Metz, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, which opened in 2010.

The judging panel included Roger Diener of Basel-based Diener & Diener Architects, French architect Patrick Berger, Chilean architect Sofia von Ellrichshausen, and Pompidou Centre chair Steven Guttman.

Construction is expected to begin in the autumn of 2019 and will be phased over several stages until the official opening in late 2022. This will enable Kanal – Centre Pompidou to organise temporary cultural activities throughout the duration of the work.

Judges’ comments on Sergison Bates’s winning scheme

Entitled A Stage for Brussels, the winning project highlights all the iconic elements of the existing architecture. The emptied and restructured showroom will become Kanal – Centre Pompidou’s ‘display window’, home to installations, performances and concerts on the ground floor, and a restaurant on the third floor.

The large white outdoor frieze will be extended so as to encircle the whole building in the form of an electronic display sign that can be used to communicate information or that can be integrated in an artistic project.

Inside, a transverse ‘street’ will cross the site measuring 35,000m², giving access to three large ‘boxes in the box’, which will be inserted in the former workshops and will accommodate the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the CIVA Foundation and a 400-seat auditorium. This solution will enable the team of international architects to control the climatic conditions of the different spaces, but it also reflects the team’s desire to breathe life into all of the building’s façades.

The museum will benefit from exhibition spaces spread out over four floors of varying heights, making a range of configurations possible.

Kanal noa em2n sba exhibition hall mmca print

The winning proposal for Brussels’ £105 million Pompidou Centre designed by Sergison Bates, EM2N and noAarchitecten [March 2018]

The winning proposal for Brussels’ £105 million Pompidou Centre designed by Sergison Bates, EM2N and noAarchitecten [March 2018] - exhibition hall

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