Usquare.brussels: new season for See U temporary occupation programme

24 February 2022
The dismantling of the Velodroom will be at the centre of the programme for the final summer of See U as we know it. © Eric Danhier

Usquare.brussels, the transformation of the former Fritz Toussaint barracks in Ixelles into an open, mixed and multifunctional district, has entered its implementation phase. The first conversion project for the iconic buildings has been launched by the two universities ULB and VUB. Other work will start this autumn, including the conversion of the old riding school and the redevelopment of the public spaces by the Urban Development Corporation (SAU), which is coordinating Usquare.brussels. As a result, See U, the temporary occupation programme initiated by the SAU, will gradually be reshaped. The departures of temporary occupants, the See Users, have therefore begun as planned. However, the SAU has decided to ask the See U team to organise a new season of activities, to run until the end of summer 2022, that will be compatible with the new constraints created by the building work.

A summer-long focus on the local area

See U will therefore offer an ambitious new programme (see calendar below and www.see-u.brussels/agenda/) focusing on the local area, with highlights including a series of activities around the dismantling of the Velodroom (Saw U) and a one-day retrospective relating to the temporary occupation, with the publication of a book of photographs.
Other items on the menu include an open-air café from Wednesday to Sunday; the Meet U programme for the local area (Quartier en Feest, Tous Fritz, etc.); sports tournaments (pétanque, beach volleyball, darts, table-tennis); family activities (workshops for children, a play area, a performing arts show); and the return of the open-air cinema.
This year, See U will redouble its focus on integrating the local community into the Usquare.brussels project. In particular, local residents, participants in Meet U and See Users are encouraged to think about the programme and get involved by suggesting activities for the summer calendar during a participatory workshop to be held on 17 March.

Saw U (dismantling the Velodroom)

The dismantling of the Velodroom will be at the centre of the programme for the final summer of See U as we know it. See U will be organising ‘Saw U’ throughout the summer. The idea is to perpetuate the spirit of See U beyond the temporary occupation, by creating lasting businesses and projects and by initiating encounters and partnerships that will continue after See U is over. The Velodroom too will live on in multiple new forms after it has been taken down, with its materials being reappropriated by its users.
Thus:
- part of the Velodroom will be turned into an agora for use by the public during outdoor cinema screenings, concerts and performances;
- the rest of the wood will then be used for minor adaptations of the site
throughout the summer;
- every two weeks, a workshop will be held at which site users can take part in the dismantling of the Velodroom and build furniture that they can take away.
In this way, the site’s central space will be opened up to new activities centred around families and sport, and the Velodroom will disappear from the site, in multiple participatory forms.

Retrospective day

Join the See U and SAU teams in looking back over this extraordinary temporary occupation programme during a retrospective day. This will be held before the SAU starts major work on the site at the end of the summer that will permanently change the face of See U and lead to the gradual appearance of Usquare.brussels. The retrospective day will be organised around three events: a round table at which the See U experience is shared and evaluated; the publication of a book of photos; and a party organised by the See Users.

Calendar for the 2022 season

  • Wednesdays - Focus Music Box concerts: for the past two years, these concerts have seen emerging young French- and Dutch-speaking Belgian artists appearing on the See U stage;
  • Thursdays - Out of Office will give pride of place this year to young Belgian DJs, as well as to Brussels vinyl stores. The Feed U organic market will also be running.
  • Fridays - Barbecue at See U and focus on the local community: as well as organising Quartiers en Feest and Roller Together, the See U team plans to offer dynamic and participative activities such as an open stage for acoustic performers. Kinopenair will also return. 
  • Saturdays - Afternoon: sports tournaments (pétanque, mölkky, darts, volleyball, etc.). Evening: See U will open up its stage for actors and cultural groups from the surrounding area to put on concerts.
  • Sundays - Markets, vintage markets, flea markets, plant markets, etc. Activities for children. Performing arts: shows, workshops, magicians, storytellers, etc.
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