The Urban Development Corporation of the Brussels-Capital Region is a public limited company whose majority shareholder is the Region; it has two main missions. First of all, there is the operational implementation of the priority development areas such as mediapark.brussels, Usquare.brussels or Josaphat. Also, the SAU-MSI steers specific projects of special importance for the prestige of Brussels, including the construction of ‘LE CHAT cartoon museum’; the restoration of the historic buildings of the former Uccle-Boitsfort Hippodrome; and the steering of the initial phase prior to the conversion of the Citroën-Yser garage into a museum of modern and contemporary art.
Frame media centre, which the SAU-MSI will build on land it owns at the corner of Boulevard Reyers and Rue Colonel Bourg, thus lies at the intersection between its two missions.
An ecosystem building
Gilles Delforge, director of the SAU-MSI, explains that: ‘Frame will be one of the first new edifices of mediapark.brussels (pp. 6-7 and 16-17) – a flagship building in this new creative Brussels district dedicated to the media. Given the integration of various operators and multiple functions and services within the same building, it will also be a showcase for mediapark.brussels, a kind of “miniature mediapark.brussels”.’
The building, with a floor space of some 10,000 m2, will contain a multifunctional ecosystem – a microcosm of what mediapark.brussels will ultimately be like. In addition to its four main occupants (BX1 regional television channel, screen.brussels, the IHECS Academy and the Brussels Video Centre: p. 10), it will also host an innovation platform including a co-working space and a business centre dedicated to the media/audiovisual sector, a catering outlet open to the public, and shared facilities, including an auditorium that can be used as a theatre or as a projection room.
Incidentally, the name chosen for the building by the SAU-MSI and the four main future occupants, Frame (Brussels media community), refers to the ‘framework’ provided by the building for the development of a media-oriented ecosystem. It also alludes to the shape and structure of its main façade looking towards Diamant; to the ‘window’ onto mediapark.brussels that it will be; to the camera frame in visual media; and to the frame in web design.
The Baukunst (Brussels) - Bruther (Paris) consortium of architecture practices (pp. 11-13) was selected following the call for project designers organised by the SAU-MSI in 2017. Gilles Delforge: ‘I’m very pleased by the great interest elicited by the architectural competition: we received 51 high-quality applications submitted by multidisciplinary teams – some from Belgium and others from various European countries – as well as consortia from several countries. This demonstrates the attention that has been attracted by the development of mediapark.brussels.’
The SAU-MSI’s director is also delighted by ‘the excellent collaboration with the four main future occupants, whose needs we will make every effort to take into account in our role as project manager.’
The construction budget amounts to 16 million euros excluding VAT, financed by the Brussels-Capital Region and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The French Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region has also earmarked nearly 3 million euros for the redeployment of BX1.
The SAU-MSI plans to start work in late 2019. The building should be finished and ready for its occupants to move in by early 2022.
More information: www.sau-msi.brussels