OMA / Reinier de Graaf, together with Jaspers-Eyers Architects and Assar Architects, has won the competition for the design of the new headquarters of the National Railway Company of Belgium in Brussels. With a total area of 75,000 square meters, the project brings together all NMBS’ departments under the same roof, creating work space for 4,000 employees.
OMA’s design preserves the ensemble of three existing monumental buildings of the Brussels-South train station along the Fonsny Avenue adding a 11-story, 236-long new volume facing the rail tracks. The interaction between the existing buildings, inaugurated on the occasion of the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, and the addition “is an expression of the double nature of Brussels’ progress,” says Reinier de Graaf. “It embraces the Belgian Brussels, with its early, and often courageous expressions of modern architecture, and the European Brussels, for which the European railway and the Brussels-South stand as symbols.”
The office space is complemented by conference and training rooms for the SNCB’ employees, a fitness center, a restaurant, and rooftop gardens on the existing buildings.
At street level, retail spaces and more visible access points to the rail tracks aim to improve the street’s appeal to the passer-by, in line with the municipality’s strategy to bring new life into the neighborhood. On the side of the rail tracks, the façade reveals the diversity of activities within the new building – a move to convey the openness and transparency of the organization to the public it serves.
OMA’s design is part of the preferred bid submitted by the consortium BESIX Group, BPC/BPI and Immobel. The competition was organized by SNCB.
The new headquarters of SNCB NMBS is OMA’s first large scale project in Belgium.The project was led by partner Reinier de Graaf together with associate and project architect Mark Veldman.