Located in the heart of the European District in Brussels, Stam Europa is a public space bringing a new type of program in the area while curating conditions for dialogue between the inhabitants and the large institutions of the neighbourhood.

The project defines a new temporary use of a former office block unoccupied for 15 years. The vacancy is exploited to test a new pilot use of the building in shaking the monolithic program of the neighborhood, providing a wider spectrum of scales and uses. In response to a general perception of the European institutions as hermetic, the space provides an open space for dialogue, attempting to re-establish a connection between the near yet detached institutions and citizens.

In order to achieve that, the logic of the building had to be rethought: not only the building was convinced for more formal and scripted encounters, but due to security reasons the whole glass facade has been walled.

To reverse that, such barriers were cut into reversed arches, enhancing a visual connection to the ground floor. To claim a physical engagement with the public space around the building, a continuous plant installation becomes a link between outside and inside, while softer interventions (a stage curtain, carpets, ...) calls for a new type of appropriation.

Architecturally, all the interventions find their raison d’être in the re-use of the existing: if the empty building becomes a framework for diverse use, its materiality should also be re-negotiated. In this way, the marble cladding of the fourier is stripped down to become table tops, whose irregular shapes allow for unexpected configurations. Analogously, the bar is made of reused concrete casting elements, while the forest itself brings together plants collected from the emptying of Brussels CCN. The heating system consists completely of reused air source heat pumps from the demolition of offices in Auderghem.

Such interventions are key to lay the ground for a hybrid use of the space, where multiple configurations allow for different uses over time. Next to the idea of a place dedicated to dialogue and confrontation, the building will also host a variety of uses, from culture to leisure, whose presence is particularly lacking in the monofunctional surrounding district.

  • Location

    Brussels, Belgium

  • Client

    Fondation Roi Baudouin

  • Description

    Refurbishment and reconversion of the ground floor of the a vacant former office space into a hybrid public space

  • Programme

    Third Space

  • Address

    Rue d’Arlon 104, 1000

  • Completion

    May 2021

  • In collaboration with

    Chevalier Masson (Textile designer - co-designers)
    Mathilde Pecqueur and Salomé Corvalan (Textile designer - co-designers)

  • 51N4E involvement

    Design guidance

  • 51N4E project team

    Dieter Leyssen, Sébastien Roy, Oscar Broeckhoven

  • Landscape

    Plant en Houtgoed

  • Construction


  • Stability engineer

    Bollinger Grohmann

  • Consultant

    Vraiment Vraiment

  • Construction cost

    €100.000 (excl. VAT)

  • Site surface

    200 m²

  • Photography

    Sepideh Farvardin