Urban planning experts and architects from all over the world are gathering in Venice these days for the Biennale Architettura. A delegation with no less than 59 participants, led by Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism Pascal Smet, will represent Brussels.
The goal? To internationally showcase the great Brussels knowledge and expertise in sustainable architecture and construction and to position our capital city even more as an urban laboratory; “The place where it's happening”.
The public and private sectors are working together for this Brussels economic mission.
Hub.brussels (the Brussels Agency for Business Support) and urban.brussels (the regional administration for urbanism and heritage) are joining forces with Embuild (the Belgian Construction Association), UPSI (the professional association of the real estate sector), arib (architects in Brussels), Citydev.brussels (Brussels regional development agency).
59 participants from many different sectors (such as architects, property developers, law firms for real estate/urban development, property consultants, engineers and suppliers of sustainable materials) are taking part.
For a long time, Brussels was an average Joe and a poor pupil in terms of town planning, urbanism and architecture. It initiated the change from a city for cars to a city for people a few years ago and is now starting to benefit from it. Open air car parks became squares with fountains, motorways that crossed the city became urban boulevards, and new cycle paths and tram lines were built. This public space revaluation is now extending into the city’s architecture.
The city's rich heritage is being restored, monofunctional office buildings are being given new urban functions and new innovative projects are being implemented in various districts.
This big change is not remaining unnoticed abroad. Brussels is increasingly catching international attention. Both national and international architectural talent admire the great potential and ambitions of this metropolis that is not afraid to think outside the box.
“Brussels challenges people to discover, to be inventive, to bring out the best in themselves. Today, we are world leaders in innovative and sustainable architecture. We are an urban laboratory for the world. Brussels is “perfectly imperfect”, an internationally attractive characteristic,” said Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism, Pascal Smet.
During this mission, Brussels will showcase its great know-how and expertise in innovative and sustainable construction and renovation. Special attention will go to sustainable heritage restoration, important both in host city Venice and in the policy of State Secretary Smet. Combining heritage, contemporary functions, comfort and energy efficiency is the big challenge here.
The mission’s programme includes various exchanges with international stakeholders, site visits, a seminar on sustainable heritage renovation and also meetings to exchange knowledge with Italian academics and policy makers such as the aldermen responsible for urbanism, tourism and economic development in Venice.
On Friday, the Brussels delegation will participate in the opening of the Belgian pavilion at the Biennale Architettura.