Contemporary Architecture in Brussels

Hello strangers! After a week or so of not much activity on this blog, I’m back on schedule with a new post today. And I’ve got a quick childhood story to get us started. 🙂 I remember distinctively someone asking me in the second grade (age 8) what I wanted to be when I grew up. I gave a very definitive answer – an architect. I knew that’s what I would become, and thought so, all the way until high school when I took my first drafting class. Who knows exactly what happened to change my course, but as you can guess I’m not an architect today. Regardless, I still love design and architecture, so I was excited to learn about a new project in the city of Brussels.

The tourism organization, VisitBrussels, has come together with a group of young Belgian architects to develop a tour of contemporary architecture in the center of Brussels. The Archi Audio project aims to improve the relationship between people who design the city and members of public, and to help everyone understand “what is contemporary architecture?”. Brussels is of course well-known for its Art Nouveau buildings, but is much less recognized for constructions post-1945.

The guide is complied from a series of interviews with different architects and urban planners and takes you through the tour with in-depth descriptions of contemporary architecture, its meaning and contribution to the life of a neighborhood. You can use the map or download the free podcasts (in French) to navigate the tour, which focuses on the area close to the canal. You can also read more about the list of buildings on the tour here.

D*tour, a company specialized in audio tours, put together the guide. They have also developed self-guided audio tours for the Grande Place, Les Marolles and St Catherine, which you can buy online from VisitBrussels for €5.

In relation to the tour, the Brussels Capital Region has supported another initiative to create an interactive map of contemporary buildings and notable architecture in Brussels. The website Brussels Architecture brings together all the professional associations of architects and planners working in Brussels. Currently, the site includes a listing of 135 buildings, which you can view on a map all at once or select by various criteria. You can build your own tour and see details for each building. The ultimate goal is to provide an overview of the 450 buildings of this type found throughout Brussels.

The tour definitely provides a different way to see Brussels and discover areas less frequently visited. I know I’ll be hitting the streets for a walk with my iPod and map very soon!

Images via Archi Audio.

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One thought on “Contemporary Architecture in Brussels

  1. Thanks for writing about this Jane! What a great initiative. I wish the weather was a bit better as I’d love to do this right now! I wanted to be an architect when I was little too… then I realised you needed competence with things like math… 🙂

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