Save | Change the City – Unbuilt Brussels #01

By DOCOMOMO Belgium / July, 1, 2017 / 0 comments

EXPO | 23.06-24.09.2017 | CIVA, Brussels

This summer, the CIVA Foundation offers a unique perspective on half a century of town planning in Brussels. Two exhibitions take a distinctive look at the development of urban planning and architecture in Brussels and at the treatment of the city’s heritage: Save | Change the City – Unbuilt Brussels #01 examines Brusselisation, in which, at the urging of property developers and politicians, everything had to give way to what was called modern architecture. Corporate Arcadia focuses mainly on the architecture of the 1990s and the early years of this century and how it has shaped the appearance of Brussels today.

EXHIBITION: Save | Change the City – Unbuilt Brussels #01

The Marollen/Marolles district and its inhabitants, who had to clear out to facilitate the extension of the courts building (Justitiepaleis/Palais de Justice), the demolition of the Centrale Hallen/Halles Centrales to make way for a new multi-story car park (the now obsolete Parking 58), the appalling idea of an urban motorway, the destruction of Horta’s Volkshuis/Maison du Peuple, and the Manhattan plan that set out to convert the residential district around the Brussels North train station into a US-style business district: in the 1950s and 1960s, Brusselisation was out of control. Brussels looked like a city that was being demolished – and not in wartime either. Large parts of the city were handed over to the property developers. Entire neighbourhoods were devastated. Residents of working-class districts were evicted in droves. And those plans had the support of the authorities. The starting point was that the ‘indispensable modernisation’ of the city was the first priority …

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Exhibition curators: Yaron Pesztat, Jos Vandenbreeden and Maurice Culot