MolenWest Square: SAU project wins Brussels Architecture Prize

MolenWest Square, the temporary occupation programme initiated by the Urban Development Corporation (SAU), whose infrastructure was designed by 1010 Architecture & Urbanism, has won the Brussels Architecture Prize in the Public Space category. The awards were presented to the winners on the evening of 13 December 2021 during a ceremony at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.

For its first year, the Brussels Architecture Prize, organised on the initiative of the Brussels-Capital Region and supported by, in co-production with A+ Architecture in Belgium, and in partnership with CIVA, BOZAR and See U, put Brussels and its architecture in the spotlight. MolenWest Square was one of seven nominees in the Public Space category. This goes to the best redevelopment of a public space in Brussels, providing added value for residents and users, focusing on sustainable mobility and creating ‘space for all’.

The MolenWest temporary occupation programme, initiated by the Urban Development Corporation (SAU) and the municipality of Molenbeek, was inaugurated on 16 September 2020. It occupies 2,800 m2 of space at the corner of Chaussée de Ninove and Rue Alphonse Vandenpeereboom, right next to the entrance to Gare de l’Ouest metro station, and is expected to run for at least three years. 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 (CRU3). For the design of these temporary spaces, the SAU organised an architecture competition, which was won by 1010 Architecture & Urbanism. It also financed the fitting-out of the site: the installation of six containers (which can be moved and reused elsewhere) connected by a series of lightweight 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.

Gilles Delforge, director of the SAU, expressed delight at ‘this recognition from the international professional panel of judges. I would like to once again offer my congratulations to 1010 architecture & urbanism, which the SAU appointed in 2020 to design the site layout. 1010 architecture & urbanism has designed innovative temporary infrastructure that allows the SAU to make this site temporarily available, offering an effective response to the needs of its manager, the municipality of Molenbeek, and above all to the requirements of local residents, by making it a sociable location where people of different generations can mix.’

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