SAU embarks on second phase of restoration of former Uccle-Boitsfort Hippodrome

10 December 2020
The entrance to the former Hippodrome at the corner of Chaussée de la Hulpe and Avenue Roosevelt. © sau-msi.brussels (P.Sa.)The entrance pavilion at the corner of Chaussée de la Hulpe and Avenue Roosevelt. © sau-msi.brussels (P.Sa.)Work in progress on the semi-circular canopies of the steel betting hall. © sau-msi.brussels (P.Sa.)The concrete betting hall. © sau-msi.brussels (P.Sa.)The tunnel under the old racing circuit. © sau-msi.brussels (P.Sa.)The forest house located on Chaussée de la Hulpe. © sau-msi.brussels (P.Sa.)

Following the restoration of the site’s four most iconic buildings between 2014 and 2016, the Urban Development Corporation (SAU) is restoring six other historic features: the two main entrances, the two betting halls, the tunnel under the old racing circuit and the forest house.

Located at the point where city and forest meet, at the crossroads of Avenue Roosevelt and Chaussée de la Hulpe, the former Uccle-Boitsfort Hippodrome is the gateway to the Sonian Forest. The 32.5-hectare site includes the old racing circuit and a total of 29 buildings. The Brussels-Capital Region has three main goals for the site: to preserve the natural and historical heritage; to develop a recreational green space so that families can use the site; and to develop its recreational, educational and cultural aspects as well as its function as a gateway to the Sonian Forest.

The SAU is undertaking the restoration of the site’s main buildings as historic features, as well as coordinating its development and running, in collaboration with Brussels Environment and the private concession-holder Drohme (more details on their respective roles here).

Between 2014 and 2016, the SAU restored the Grandstand, the Small Stand, the Weighing Building and the Judges’ Tower, at a total cost of 6 million euros.

The second phase of restoration on which the SAU has just embarked after receiving planning permission last spring, concerns six historic buildings regarded as priorities:

  • the entrance pavilion at the corner of Chaussée de la Hulpe and Avenue Roosevelt;
  • the entrance pavilion at the back of the car park on Chaussée de la Hulpe;
  • the semi-circular canopies of the steel betting hall;
  • the semi-circular canopies of the concrete betting hall;
  • the tunnel under the old racing circuit providing access to the golf course and the large regional playground to be developed by Brussels Environment;
  • the forest house located on Chaussée de la Hulpe, to be used by the park-keepers and as offices for Drohme.

 

The SAU has a budget of some 2.5 million euros for this second round of restoration work, which should be completed by early 2022. The work has been entrusted to the architects at ORIGIN Architecture & Engineering and to the contractors GROUP MONUMENT. These two companies specialising in the restoration of historic structures were previously awarded contracts in the public procurement processes during the first phase in the restoration of the former Hippodrome.

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