The increasing use of container parks in the Brussels Region is evidence of an ideological transition among citizens. Recycling is an attitude we increasingly share. The way we see our waste is changing and is giving container parks a more positive connotation. One person's waste becomes another person's resource, and these Recyparks in Brussels form an essential link in the circular economy. Embedding the Recyparks as closely as possible to the inhabitants is becoming a real urban challenge: the aim is to avoid pushing them back to the outskirts of the city.

The proposed plot of land runs along the Brussels-Charleroi Canal, which is gradually being transformed into a territorial amenity for the region’s inhabitants. The project site also marks the southern tip of the Birmingham block, a site dating from the industrial age and that is gradually being transformed into a mixed and inhabited district. The project proposes to concentrate the Recypark on one side of the plot so as to free up a public space connected to the canal. This public space facilitates the acceptance of the logistics programme in the district and becomes a destination mixing different types of users for the site. The public space is activated by a skatepark and a green space, reinforcing the network of these green destinations on an urban scale. But the public space is also a way of highlighting the Recypark's programme and making it more attractive. Together, these uses make up one and the same place, and their common identity is born from a hall covering both the public part of the Recypark and the skatepark. Although the two programmes are secured independently, the hall conveys a common image of these programmes and fits in with the scale of the surrounding industrial buildings.

The design team proposes to use a structure from the reuse materials sector to create the site’s common roofing. Following a study by Rotor, the decision was made to reuse the structure of an old riding arena, which was analysed, dismantled and stored, pending its reassembly on site. Moving and reusing an existing industrial hall is easier said than done, as it calls into question the current modes of design and tendering for a public project: here the whole procedure has to be reinvented.

This small but also large-scale project is part of a search for pilot projects to develop more fully integrated Recyparks in an urban environment. It is also an opportunity for 51N4E to help increase the collective and social character that urban logistics facilities can bring.

  • Location

    Anderlecht, Belgium

  • Client

    Bruxelles Propreté

  • Design

    2016 - 2019

  • Construction

    2021 - 2022

  • 51N4E project team

    Johan Anrys, Freek Persyn, Benoit Lanon, Yann Guéguen, Aline Neirynck, Jan Opdekamp

  • Structural engineer

    Witteveen and Bos

  • Technical engineer


  • PEB engineer


  • Reuse expertise


  • Programme

    design and execution for a recycling center and public space

  • Built surface

    5.000 m²

  • Image credits