New proposals for the regeneration of historic Brussels street
Fletcher Priest's proposals seek to transform the existing environment of the Rue de la Loi into one of the great streets of a historic city. The street is currently a hostile arterial highway in the heart of the European District, with a steady flow of traffic leading westwards towards the centre of Brussels. Anonymous architectural form to either side offers little public realm or activity to engage with the life of the city. Yet beyond the corridor of the street lies the Leopold quarter, a 19th Century gridded extension of the city with a character and identity that is hidden from view.
The architects are proposing a transformation of the street that can be achieved with initial interventions, to be followed by growth and incremental development over time. This reflects the complexity of a multitude of landowners and varying building obsolescence within the 12 hectare site. The proposal responds to the aspirations set out in a complex brief to transform perceptions of the street. It creates a public face for the European Commission and an environmental exemplar. It forms a uniting element that links the adjacent areas and overcomes its current role as a traffic-dominated barrier.
The proposal responds to a planned doubling in urban density and the diversification of the mono-functional land uses of the site at present. In doing all this the architects have responded to the characteristics of the surroundings and have suggested scenarios in which dramatic change within defined boundaries sits alongside growth and change in the wider area and Brussels as a whole.