OMA / De Graaf in Brussels

Railway Display


A screen-like building, seemingly trivial but with a scale and urban position that make it a monument, has given OMA / Reiner de Graaf the victory in the contest for the new headquarters of the National Railway Company of Belgium (SNCB), beside the Brussels South Station.

The brief of the 2018 competition laid down two objectives: to refurbish three brick buildings that were raised for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, and to bring the 4,000 employed in the company’s administrative part together in one place.

Enlarging the complex to a total area of 75,000 square meters, the scheme sets an efficient distribution of the program, one which, much in the tradition of OMA, makes the diagram of uses one of the project’s generating principles. This rigorous organization by means of the diagram is accompanied by a powerful formal decision: to concentrate the bulk of the program in a volume juxtaposed to the preexisting buildings: an 11-floor, 236-meter-long parallelepiped dotted with circular holes and placed parallel to the train tracks.

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