KCAP/Arup/Fakton win competition for NEO in Brussels (BE)

KCAP Architects&Planners together with the advisors Arup and Fakton have won the competition for NEO, the re-urbanization of a strategic pole in the north of the city of Brussels. The team's design for NEO was awarded with the first prize out of a group of eight international entries.


A view of the Heysel Plateau site from the Atomium.

NEO will become a multifunctional urban node and will transform Heysel Plateau, currently an incoherent area in the north of Brussels. By hosting international business congresses and entertainment events and offering facilities for shopping, leisure and recreation, culture and politics, NEO aims to support and enlarge Brussels' international profile and image.

"NEO is a unique opportunity for Brussels and its inhabitants, an exceptional potential for economic recovery and the creation of new employment," says Freddy Thielemans, Mayor of the City of Brussels.

The site has a unique setting within the city's structure. During its history the site has always combined public interest with leisure facilities. It has the potential to become a forum for Europeans, a place where diversity finds common ground. On a more local level, the development of this site creates great possibilities to reinforce a large green space within the city network.

"The complexity of Brussels' urban fabric reflects a diverse collection of districts, language communities, influences and traditions. The Heysel Plateau now requires a contemporary vision where Brussels, Belgium and Europe come together in one place," says Kees Christiaanse, founder and partner of KCAP and appointed 'Urbaniste en chef' for NEO.

Frank Werner, the urban planner at KCAP responsible for the NEO, considers the complexity of this project a great challenge for the multidisciplinary team of KCAP, Arup and Fakton. "We are happy to accept this challenge. The partners have previously cooperated successfully on similar projects. For the NEO we have again brought a specific and knowledgeable group of experts together."

Ruurd Gietema, urban planner and partner of KCAP confirms: "NEO will be elaborated by a compact and integral team with well structured and efficiently defined roles and responsibilities. The relatively small team allows for optimal and efficient communications with the client and other involved parties."

Comparable models of project organization have been previously adapted in the Olympic Legacy Masterplan in London and Hafencity in Hamburg.

The masterplan reveals a structured urban approach, built on delivery along five important lines: flexibility, integration, interaction, simultaneous working, and robustness. The design and project methodology foresee a global vision and development process for the project. The program will be realized in different phases. The phasing and the integration of urban incubators in the first stages allow for a coordination of the program and cross-financing of the phases. The elaboration of the design and the realization of the sub-phases will be carried out over an estimated period of at least 10 years.

Source: KCAP

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