“Today we are creating the Brussels of tomorrow. A city where we must provide space for everyone and for all the functions that are needed. We have come a long way with this project, but we can be proud of the result. The existing buildings will be preserved and respectfully renovated, as will the garden,” said Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism and Heritage Pascal Smet.
Valérie GLATIGNY, Minister of Youth Care of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation: “The Brussels-Capital Region's granting of the permit allows us to make this project a reality. It has three objectives: to clean up and restore several obsolete buildings, to preserve and redevelop the park - a green lung in a densely populated urban area - and to create an innovative educational project. This project will give young Brusselers the opportunity to follow an educational path that takes into account their needs and resources. This will allow them to reintegrate into family, social and community life. We have also taken into account the comments of local residents, particularly with regard to safety.
In 2017, the government of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation decided to establish a public youth care institution in Brussels. The site of the old Victor Horta boarding school, on the corner of Avenue Van Volxem and Chaussée de Bruxelles, was chosen as its location.
The functioning of the institution has many similarities with the one of a boarding school. Young people who stay there are finishing their reintegration process. They will, for example, continue to attend regular schools. This educational project aims to gradually reintegrate these young people into society and help them respect its rules. This objective should be facilitated by the proximity of their school environment, families, and relatives. Similar projects in other countries have shown the success of this formula.
The centre will provide room for about 30 young people. In addition, the project will include four apartments to prepare them to live on their own.
The new, strongly evolved project pays close attention to the existing buildings and the garden. It illustrates much more an open spirit, for example towards the city and with a natural integration into the neighbourhood. The thoroughly modified project is the result of a very constructive collaboration between Brussels State Secretary Pascal Smet, Minister of the French Community Valérie Glatigny, and their respective administrations: urban.brussels and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
It will include the preservation and thorough renovation of the two existing buildings on the street side and an extension of the building at Avenue Van Volxem. This new volume will connect all existing buildings and also a new building at the back, which will house a small sports hall.
The spacious garden will also be thoroughly renovated, with a revaluation of the trees and water features and a new vegetable garden and a sports field. Moreover, water management will receive a lot of attention.