MolenWest: new temporary occupation project launched next to Gare de l’Ouest railway station
Covered areas for sports activities, containers for fun and creative activities for young people run by local organisations, a fablab accessible to local residents and a new municipal office for the district: these are the main components of MolenWest - Square. This new temporary occupation of 2,800 m² of space, initiated by the Urban Development Corporation (SAU) and the municipality of Molenbeek, was launched by the municipal authorities and the SAU’s director, Gilles Delforge, early in the evening on Wednesday 16 September.
The project is located on a 4,500 m2 site at the corner of Chaussée de Ninove and Rue Alphonse Vandenpeereboom, right next to the entrance to Gare de l’Ouest metro station. The Region is currently working out how this site will be used permanently in the future. Meanwhile, for a period currently planned to last at least three years, the Urban Development Corporation (SAU) and the municipality of Molenbeek have cooperated to make a temporary occupation project possible there. The aim is to provide a response to the needs of the local area surrounding this key public transport hub. It has been decided to create temporary spaces where locally active non-profit organisations can carry out their activities, on the basis of the ‘Autour du Parc de l'Ouest’ Sustainable District Contract programme and the diagnosis of the ‘Gare de l'Ouest’ Urban Regeneration Contract (CRU 3).
In concrete terms:
- the Land Management Agency of the Brussels-Capital Region, which owns the land, has cleared the site.
- the SAU, on the basis of one of the roles assigned to it by the Region, organised an architectural competition (won by 1010 Architecture & Urbanism) and has financed the fitting-out of the site: the installation of six containers connected by a series of lightweight, semi-transparent roofs to accommodate the various activities, and of an additional unit for the site manager appointed by the municipality; the landscaping of the surrounds, the plantations and the public spaces; the adaptation of the fence; water, gas and electricity supplies; and lighting. The SAU obtained planning permission in late January 2020 and oversaw conversion work on the site that took place between March and September 2020.
- the municipality of Molenbeek, under the terms of an agreement with the Region, will be responsible for the management of the site during the temporary occupation: it has recruited a site manager and signed agreements with seven non-profit organisations active in the district.
- these seven organisations will run activities on the site during the day and during school holidays, including a homework club and sporting or creative activities (cooking, woodwork, etc..) under the supervision of professional instructors.
MolenWest - Square is open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm (and at other times for certain events) at 193 rue Alphonse Vandenpeereboom, 1080 Brussels.
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