SAU, City and Region choose plans by CENTRAL for future Magasin 4 concert venue

The Urban Development Corporation (SAU) has, in consultation with the City of Brussels, the office of the Minister-President of the Brussels Region and the Region’s Chief Architect, appointed the Belgian architectural firm CENTRAL (*) to design the new Magasin 4 concert venue on land located at the corner of Avenue du Port and Rue de l'Entrepôt, near Tour & Taxis.

At the end of 2020, an accord was concluded between the City of Brussels, the Brussels-Capital Region, the Port of Brussels and the SAU under which the alternative punk-rock venue would be given a permanent home. The accord between these partners provides for a concession between the Port and the City of Brussels for the land, the financing of Magasin 4’s future building under Urban Regeneration Contract 1 ‘Citroën-Vergote’, and an agreement between the City and the SAU. The SAU will act as the City’s project manager for the construction of the new concert venue.

The construction budget is 1,000,000 euros excluding VAT for the basic structure plus façades, doors and windows, financed by the Brussels-Capital Region under Urban Regeneration Contract 1 ‘Citroën-Vergote’. The SAU plans to submit the planning application in May 2022 and start work in 2023.

The Brussels-Capital Region’s Minister-President Rudi Vervoort emphasised ‘the excellent collaboration between City and Region for the implementation of this public cultural project of regional significance in the Canal Area. This is one of the emblematic projects of the first wave of Urban Regeneration Contracts. It closely reflects the philosophy of the URCs – initiated by the Region and implemented with the municipalities – of filling in the gaps in public infrastructure and reducing the divides between different urban districts. It will join a large series of initiatives that are helping to regenerate the strategically important Canal Area, both public (including the Museum of the Kanal-Centre Pompidou, the regional sports facility at Quai des Armateurs, the development of Béco Park and the construction of the Suzan Daniel Bridge) and private (the developments in progress on the Tour & Taxis site).’

The Mayor of the City of Brussels, Philippe Close, commented: ‘Today is a great day for alternative culture in the City of Brussels! We’ve secured the continuity and sustainability of Magasin 4 – a hotspot of Brussels culture. I’d like to thank the Region, the Port of Brussels and the SAU for having supported us and above all for having done everything possible to establish on a permanent footing this exceptional venue which adds so much to our capital’s character. The Central project presented by the architects today perfectly reflects the identity of Magasin 4 and will become the new home of alternative punk rock in Brussels.’

Gilles Delforge, director of the SAU, explained that ‘the Central project is the one that offered the closest fit with the selection criteria, which included architectural and functional qualities, added value for the local area, identity, sustainability, circular and reversible design and budget. We wish to thank the City of Brussels for the confidence it has shown in us by entrusting us with the project management of the future building for Magasin 4. The SAU is delighted to be once again playing its role as coordinator of Brussels' development, in charge of the implementation of major urban development projects and public facilities of regional significance in areas such as culture, sport and security.’

Yassine Akki, President of the Port of Brussels: ‘The Port of Brussels is very pleased that a solution has been found with all the partners to offer a home to Magasin 4 on the edge of the Port area. These plans fit well with the Port's ambitions in terms of the urban integration of its activities, enabling it to contribute to a mix of functions in a fast-changing area.’

The CENTRAL team stated: ‘Magasin 4 is seeing double. This legendary venue for underground culture for more than 25 years has finally found a place that’s perfect for it next to Brussels’ Canal. A new temple to partying and music has been devised by CENTRAL. As befits a cultural facility which is changing all the time, the venue's spatial potential will be doubled, enabling it to expand its activities and opening up the possibility of other futures. Public architecture that celebrates Brussels-based initiatives and energy is thus taking an alternative approach at local community and city level.’

The Magasin 4 team noted that ‘As is the case for many volunteer-run cultural venues offering an alternative programme and managed by enthusiasts, the existence of Magasin 4 has long been under threat because of the precarious nature of its tenancy rights. It’s ironic in the current context (when many sectors are slowing down, culture has come to a standstill and concert venues are at the end of the long list of structures awaiting a hypothetical reopening in suitable conditions) that our collective has obtained a guarantee, after several years of constructive discussions and exchanges with the authorities, that its activities can continue in a building specially designed for the purpose. We’d like to thank the City of Brussels and the Brussels Region for their help and support in carrying out this project. Now that a solution has been found for the long term, Magasin 4 will set about finding a temporary venue for its events between the demolition of the current hall (scheduled for some time in 2022) and the moment when it moves into its new premises. While we await these new premises, like all musicians, technicians and others in the arts, our whole team is itching to be reunited with the audiences, the friendliness, the social bond and the intensity of live performance.’

  • (*) CENTRAL is a Belgian architectural firm based in Brussels. For the Magasin 4 project, it is working with the stability engineers Servais Engineering Architectural and the following specialists: Zeugma Engineering (building services), Daidalos Peutz (acoustics, energy performance), Covides (health and safety coordination), Sandrine Tonnoir (circular economy) and Elzo Deurt (consultancy, participation).
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