ULB and SAU launch competitive tender for the first renovations, restorations and transformations of buildings at Usquare.brussels

The Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) – acting on behalf of the two universities involved in the Usquare.brussels project, ULB and VUB – and the Urban Development Corporation (SAU) have published a European public procurement notice with a view to appointing the general contractor responsible for the first building renovation, restoration and transformation operations.

This first phase in the site’s conversion specifically involves:

  • the renovation, restoration, transformation and repurposing of the buildings fronting onto Boulevard Général Jacques and along Avenue de la Couronne as an innovative university hub integrating university facilities and accommodation for researchers.
  • the renovation and conversion of the old Riding School (where horse-riders at the gendarmerie school used to be trained) as a sustainable food court.


This double operation, relating to a total area of 10,000 m², is part of the overall conversion project of the former gendarmerie school, which is being coordinated by the SAU at the request of the Brussels-Capital Region. It has been made possible by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), match-funded by the Region, and has won the regional BeExemplary label. It will contribute to the showcasing of the site's architectural heritage and the circular economy strategy, two key aspects of the development of Usquare.brussels.

The planning and environmental permit procedures have been completed. The universities and the SAU plan to start work in October 2021, and the buildings should be finished and ready for their occupants to move in by the end of 2023.


An ambitious architectural project

The call for project designers organised by ULB in 2018 was won by the consortium evr-architecten – BC Architects – Callebaut Architecten – VK Engineering, which came up with a suitable architectural interpretation of the project-specific and broader urban ambitions of the various actors involved in the site’s conversion. The research carried out by the project designers into new construction approaches has been supported by expertise available within the universities, in terms of both renewable energy and the circular economy.

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