Website, information leaflet and newsletter dedicated to the new Josaphat district

The Urban Development Corporation (SAU-MSI) has today unveiled a website entirely dedicated to the new district it is developing on the site of the old Josaphat railway marshalling yard: www.josaphat.brussels. On the website, the SAU-MSI presents the characteristics of this extensive area, the project’s main objectives, the procedures in progress and so on. It will also publish regular news updates, in particular on the main stages of the project.

In order to provide as much information as possible to local residents who are directly concerned by the project, the SAU-MSI is also distributing leaflets to some 5,000 mailboxes in the next few days in the districts of Schaerbeek and Evere which surround Josaphat. This information document can be downloaded here.

In the leaflet, the SAU-MSI invites local people to discover the website www.josaphat.brussels and to subscribe to its newsletter, in order to stay informed about the project’s progress.

Visite des sites RTBF et VRT
Visit RTBF and VRT

RTBF and VRT invite their neighbours for a visit and a preview of their future building plans from 10am to 6pm.

 

Registration required: tinyurl.com/rtbf-vrt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Media House’ at mediapark.brussels: call for project designers

The Urban Development Corporation (SAU-MSI) has today launched a call for project designers for the construction of ‘Media House’, one of the first elements in the physical implementation of the mediapark.brussels project. ‘Media House’ will be a flagship building for mediapark.brussels, and its architectural quality must both attract other users and set the standard for future elements of this ambitious urban project.

The call has been launched within the framework of the ‘mediapark.brussels activation’ project implemented by the SAU-MSI in the context of the ERDF Operational Programme 2014-2020 of the Brussels-Capital Region.

Located on land belonging to the SAU-MSI, at the corner of Boulevard Reyers and Rue Colonel Bourg, the new building will include:

  • the headquarters of the regional television channel BX1;
  • an innovation platform dedicated to the media/audiovisual sector;
  • offices for Screen.Brussels;
  • premises for a training institute;
  • and possibly the headquarters of another media operator.

These partners from the media sector will use the building together, including a number of common areas, in order to generate future synergies. The plans for Media House include offices, television studios, a reception, an auditorium, training rooms, a small canteen and technical rooms.

The budget for the execution of the work is 16,500,000 euros plus VAT.

The building will have a gross above-ground floor area of about 9,800m², plus several basements which will mainly be used for parking.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 11 am on 13 March 2017.

Fees are set at 11.8%. Expenses of 10,000 euros will be awarded to each invited team that submits a regular tender and scores 50% of the points in light of the award criteria.

The Chief Architect of the Brussels-Capital Region will supervise the project and sit on the advisory committee for the selection and award of the tender.

The contract notice is available here.

mediapark.brussels presented at the real estate show Realty

On Tuesday 24 May 2016, the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, the Agence François Leclercq, RTBF and VRT presented a progress update on the mediapark.brussels project at the real estate show Realty.
 
The Minister-President reminded an audience of real estate professionals and representatives of public institutions that this strategic area is one of the priorities of the Brussels government’s regional development policy. 
 
In partnership with VRT, RTBF and the municipality of Schaerbeek, the Brussels Region plans to transform this part of the city into a new metropolitan district, open up to the public the large park which lies hidden at the heart of the television broadcasters’ campus and develop a cluster of media businesses around the RTBF-VRT site. 
 
To this end, the four project partners are supported by a multidisciplinary team led by architect and urban planner François Leclercq. François Leclercq gave a progress update on Tuesday on the mediapark.brussels master plan, which he has been responsible for developing. Among other points, he referred to: 
  • the idea of a large park, passing through the district, more urban in character at its western end and more intimate at its eastern end thanks to the well-developed existing vegetation;
  • the concept of the media precinct at the heart of the project, framed by the headquarters of the two public television broadcasters; this will be designed as a public space, and will be a pivotal point in the new traffic flows across the site;
  • the plans for a west-east promenade as a structural component, running past the liveliest building fronts in the mediapark, and linking the more isolated districts to the east with the new park and Boulevard Reyers. 
The proposed new housing developments will be located around a new eight-hectare urban park (more info), served by major urban arteries which have been redesigned for efficient, calmer mobility (more info). They will offer local people numerous housing opportunities, a reinforced network of shopping and services and a vibrant city life, in contact with the creative businesses, colleges of higher education and cultural facilities that make up the media cluster.
 
At Realty, the Minister-President again welcomed the decision taken by RTBF and VRT in 2012 to rebuild their headquarters at the heart of the district and their current site. Jean-François Raskin (Chairman of the Board of Directors of RTBF) and Paul Lembrechts (CEO of VRT) presented the architectural designs selected for their headquarters. The architectural work has been entrusted to MDW / V+ for RTBF and Robbrecht & Daem / Dierendonckblancke for VRT. More info.
 
In addition, Jean-François Raskin, who is also Director-General of the Institute for Higher Social Communication Studies (IHECS), took the opportunity to announce that IHECS is interested in occupying premises on the mediapark.brussels site.
 
The next steps are the approval by the Brussels government of the final site master plan following an impact assessment and a public inquiry (scheduled for the first quarter of 2017). Once these important administrative steps have been taken, the first mixed blocks of buildings can be developed.
 
View the presentations given at the Realty show:

The RTBF presents its future Brussels headquarters

RTBF today presented a model of its future headquarters on Boulevard Reyers in Brussels. With an above-ground area of ​​38,000 m2 for an investment of 150 million euros, the new RTBF headquarters will be the workplace of the company’s 1,300 employees in Brussels.

The project by MDW, in partnership with V+ and Tractebel Engineering, was selected by the Board of Directors of RTBF at the end of January. The successful candidate was chosen at the end of a process launched in early 2015: following a call for projects, 47 applications were received, from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, the United States and the United Kingdom. Five teams were shortlisted to deliver a preliminary sketch in September 2015, based on specifications that included the new building’s expected functionalities.

The architects and RTBF’s teams will now work together to progress from the current sketch to the final plans. The filing of permit applications is expected in 2017, and work is scheduled to start in late 2018. RTBF expects its building to be completed two years later, in 2020. It will continue its mission of providing news and producing and broadcasting content at its existing facilities throughout the construction of its new headquarters.

This change in RTBF’s Brussels headquarters, in parallel with a similar development at VRT (read here) represents part of the mediapark.brussels urban project which is being developed in conjunction with the reconfiguration of the 20-hectare site where the current and future RTBF and VRT headquarters are located. This will be converted into a metropolitan district that is open, creative, vibrant and leafy. The ambition is also to stimulate the emergence of an innovative media ecosystem there, promoting the development of the audiovisual, media and cultural sectors and the creative industries in Brussels, with innovative companies, colleges, public facilities related to the media sector, a park, housing, crèches, schools, shops and so on.

The RTBF building will be forward-looking in every respect. It will reflect the company’s current and future needs much more closely, and be more open to the world around it. It will house the company’s media and support operations with a view to becoming a modern and innovative audiovisual cluster, developed in a spirit of transparency towards audiences, partners and the general public.

Architects appointed for new VRT building

Today, 7 January 2016, VRT appointed a consortium led by Robbrecht & Daem Architects and Dierendonckblancke Architects to design its new headquarters on Boulevard Reyers in Schaerbeek.

The appointment follows an architectural competition, launched by the Flemish Chief Architect, which drew entries from 66 teams of national and international designers. Five teams were shortlisted, including the winner.

Robbrecht & Daem Architects are known for major projects such as the Concertgebouw in Bruges, the Stadshal in Ghent, Rubens Square in Knokke and the renovation of Cinematek Brussels.

Projects designed by Dierendonckblancke Architects include the cultural centres in Avelgem and Beselare.

The winning team also consists of VK Group (stability, building services and acoustic consultancy), Arup UK (engineering and acoustic consultancy), Bureau Bas Smets (landscaping), Muller Van Severen (furniture) and Grontmij (cost management).

Work should begin in 2018. VRT’s staff and studios will move into the new building in late 2021. The building will also be used as a cultural and community centre.

As part of VRT’s Reyers 2020 Plan (http://www.canvas.be/reyers-2020), starting on 10 January the television channel Canvas will broadcast a series of five programmes about the five teams that put forward plans for Flemish public television company’s new building.

The new VRT headquarters will be the first concrete achievement of the mediapark.brussels project. This aims to create a lively new creative district on the Reyers site, for which the planning agency F. Leclercq is currently developing a master plan.

More information:

€4.5 million from the Region for the audiovisual industry

The government of the Brussels-Capital Region gave the go-ahead today for the creation of two funds worth a total of €4.5 million intended to support the audiovisual industry.

The audiovisual sector is an important component of the cultural and creative industry throughout the Brussels Region. The government is committed to promoting this promising sector, which features in the priority actions of the 2025 Strategy. ‘The Minister for the Economy and Employment, Didier Gosuin, and I have expressed the determination to capitalise on the economic potential of the audiovisual sector, which generates nearly 8,000 direct jobs and 7,000 jobs in the related field of communication – a total of 15,000 jobs,’ explained Minister-President Rudi Vervoort.

 

Umbrella brand: screen.brussels

 

To improve efficiency, it was vital to make the range of audiovisual services on offer in Brussels clearer to all stakeholders, in Brussels, Belgium and internationally. The government has therefore decided to develop an umbrella brand, screen.brussels, which will be divided into four components:

  • screen.brussels film commission (currently Brussels Film Office);
  • screen.brussels cluster (currently the sectoral cluster housed at impulse.brussels, bringing together more than 120 members);
  • screen.brussels fund (a new Brussels co-production fund which replaces Bruxellimage-Wallimage);
  • screen.brussels business (the SRIB-GIMB’s new dedicated funding facility).

As the first two of these initiatives had already demonstrated their usefulness, the Region wanted to develop the mechanism further by creating a dedicated funding facility and introducing a co-production fund.

 

A new fund for co-productions

 

Specifically, in consultation with the Walloon partner, the mixed fund Wallimage-Bruxellimage will be discontinued as of 1 January 2016 in favour of a co-production fund that is 100% from Brussels, worth €3 million, known as the screen.brussels fund. The idea is to gain full control of this highly effective form of leverage, and adapt it in the interests of Brussels and of the audiovisual industry based there. It will be managed by a separate structure overseen by the Minister-President, who has earmarked an additional budget of €500,000 to cover its operating and promotional expenses.

This new fund will make it possible to ensure that part of the audiovisual expenditure generated by the federal tax shelter scheme takes place in the Brussels-Capital Region. By increasing the competitiveness of the audiovisual sector in Brussels, the fund will help maintain and develop employment in the Brussels-Capital Region. Part of the allocated budget is intended to respond to developments in the way content is created, distributed and consumed for all types of screens. Through this initiative, the Region will play its pivotal role as a metropolis, promoting opportunities for collaboration with economic instruments used by the other two regions and with the cultural funds of the two linguistic communities.

 

A new funding facility for companies

 

In parallel with the creation of the screen.brussels fund, the Brussels government has decided to increase the resources for investment in companies in the sector. To this end, the SRIB-GIMB will be granted an additional budget of €1 million in 2016 under the name ‘screen.brussels business’.

‘By creating a specific line for companies in the audiovisual sector, the Region has followed the other two Regions in adopting an instrument that complements the fund for investment in content production. This facility will complement the SRIB-GIMB’s investments in companies in the sector. The goal is to create more possibilities for also investing in companies operating in emerging niches in the Brussels Region, such as gaming and virtual reality,’ explained Didier Gosuin.

This budget relates to contributions in loan or capital form in favour of Brussels SMEs operating in the audiovisual sector (i.e. companies active in areas such as audio, video and IT and their subcontractors, as well as suppliers of goods and services in the sector).

‘The goal of these new tools is to increase the resources used and raise the visibility of government action in favour of this industry. We are also striving to avoid any duplication or overlapping of competences and to take account of the statutes of the SRIB-GIMB,’ concluded the Minister-President.

The Reyers district says goodbye to the viaduct

Several hundred people attended the local community celebrations organised by the Brussels-Capital Region on Sunday afternoon to say goodbye to the Reyers viaduct, the demolition of which should begin this summer.

The main attraction of this event for local residents was the chance to go on ‘Sky Watch’, a pod suspended by crane 60 metres above the ground for a superb view of the district and Brussels as a whole.

The decision to demolish the viaduct was taken last year by the Brussels regional government, because of the cost of renovating it. Built between 1969 and 1972, it will be replaced by a more user-friendly urban boulevard.

 

The ambitions for mediapark.brussels

The ambitions of the mediapark.brussels project and the major developments in the Reyers/Meiser district were presented today by the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, the Mayor of Schaerbeek, the CEOs of RTBF and VRT and the French architect and urban planner François Leclercq. The latter revealed the main concepts of the provisional master plan which he is responsible for devising for the reconfiguration of the RTBF-VRT site on Boulevard Reyers in Schaerbeek, which will become the heart of a new creative district that is open, diverse and vibrant.

This massive urban operation will create a new centre for the development of the Brussels region, in order to restore the quality of life at the heart of these areas, whose development has been seriously affected by the dense road infrastructure and by various economic activities that have developed on huge inward-looking sites. The new developments will incorporate housing, shops, services and leisure provision, but also will strengthen the economic fabric, among other means through the emergence of an innovative ecosystem centred on the media and the creative industries. This in relation with the future “Media cluster” funded by Europe and the Region within the framework of the launch of the operational ERDF program 2014-2020 of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The ambition of this project, dubbed ‘mediapark.brussels’, is to develop around the future new headquarters of RTBF and VRT an urban park of 8 hectares that will form the heart of a new Brussels district of exceptional quality – creative, diverse and vibrant. This open district, which will be a great place to live, work and relax, will be forward-looking and innovative in character by virtue both of its urban and architectural design and of its business activity, characterised by the proximity of numerous companies in the media and creative sectors employing some 5,000 workers.

The unifying and inspiring mediapark.brussels project, in relation with the Media cluster, will add value for Brussels and its people. In addition to the two new headquarters for RTBF and VRT, it features: the construction, ultimately, of some 3,000 new dwellings occupied by around 6,000 new inhabitants; local facilities and services (a nursery, a school, shops etc.) to meet the needs of local people; sites for innovative new businesses that will create jobs, colleges and public facilities linked with the media sector; an urban park used as a venue for events but also for walking and recreation; measures to reduce the impact of road traffic.

Situated at the confluence point between two stories (that of the Reyers/Meiser district and that of Belgian public broadcasting) and in a strategic location (between the European Quarter, Brussels Airport and Brussels’ university campuses), mediapark.brussels will become an attractive new centre whose influence will extend beyond the confines of Brussels. It will also reconnect the neighbouring districts, because it will be organised around a huge urban park that will replace the enclosed RTBF and VRT site, and through-roads linked up to the surrounding network.

Briefings, especially for local residents, will be scheduled shortly.

To follow the latest news on mediapark.brussels: https://twitter.com/mediaparkbru and www.facebook.com/mediapark.brussels

Reyers
Appointment of an international team to design the heart of the Media Cluster

An international team led by the architecture and urban planning firm François Leclercq has been selected to design a new metropolitan district and the heart of the Media Cluster.

The Brussels Region, the municipality of Schaerbeek and the two public broadcasting corporations have appointed a team of urban planners to design the diverse and vibrant new district around the new VRT and RTBF headquarters. The project will be developed on 19.6 hectares of land belonging to RTBF and VRT.

The winning team has 24 months to design this metropolitan urban project based on the construction of a Media Cluster, housing and local facilities and the development of a major regional park. It will also be responsible for supporting the implementation of the project.

The urban project is intended to address two sets of objectives:

  • regional and municipal objectives relating to the development of the media as an economic sector by establishing a specific cluster, to the construction of housing and to the creation of quality public spaces;
  • the objectives of VRT and RTBF concerning the restructuring of their buildings and their wish to be part of a dynamic district by the end of 2019.

 

An international consultation

The appointment has been made following an international consultation launched by the Urban Development Agency (ADT-ATO), acting in the name and on behalf of the Brussels-Capital Region, the municipality of Schaerbeek, RTBF and VRT.
Fourteen international teams responded to the call for applications. Four teams were selected to submit tenders on 31 March 2014. The teams’ proposals were submitted to an advisory committee comprising representatives of the project ownership, the chief architect of Brussels, the Flemish chief architect and external experts.

From Barcelona to Brussels

The selected multidisciplinary team consists of:

  • Agence François Leclercq, which has a reputation for the development of major sites such as Paris Nord-Est, Euroméditerranée in Marseilles and its Bois Habité project in Lille;
  • the architectural firm BOB 361, which among other projects designed the student centre in Antwerp and 59 passive social housing units in Forest;
  • the Barcelona-based landscape agency Espinas i Tarraso, which was responsible for the redevelopment of the Barceloneta waterfront in Barcelona;
  • the Spanish media planning agency NATEX, expert advisor to the Barcelona media cluster 22@BCN;
  • the Belgian planning agency BUUR, which drew up the master plan and definition study for the RTBF/VRT site and will be responsible for the master plan’s impact study;
  • and the consultancies CITEC engineering (mobility), Alphaville (urban planning), Transsolar (sustainable development) and Mageo Morel Associates (infrastructure).