Paleizenstraat 153 - 1030 Brussels
T 022444430 F 022444431 E

Competition proposal for the Athénée Rabelais

Location :
Ixelles, Brussels
Team :
AgwA + Bogdan&Van Broeck
Planning :
Category :
Two existing schools in operation. An impression of obsolescence on the one hand, a flagrant lack of space on the other. Generous architecture and spaces. How to reactivate these buildings? In the proposed vision, the potential of all buildings and infrastructures is considered on an equal footing: the large halls of the Athénée as well as the concrete structures of the 1970s or the elongated buildings in the interior of the block.

Creating a school for children aged 2 to 15 is an opportunity to give coherence to the whole site. To allow people to experience its extent, to appropriate it in its large dimensions and to make it intelligible from one end to the other.

The project is nourished by the possibility of mutual enrichment between these different ages, while allowing each person to flourish in places adapted to their needs. The central street naturally connects the different parts of the school and provides a long courtyard, a counterpart to the existing playground.

Based on the existing layouts, we propose to create a large external passage between the chaussée d'Ixelles and the rue de l'Athénée. From the apse of the church, this passage slips successively under a wing of the Rabelais school, the central pavilion, and the new school on the Chaussée d'Ixelles. It forms a large, long courtyard, open to the neighbourhood and the city. A place of entry and recreation. A place that can be appropriated by the pupils as well as by the neighbourhood. It clearly marks the presence of the school on both sides and gives a glimpse of the site in its depth.

The unique floor covering extends in this new passageway. All the ground floors of the three buildings that mark the street are left free. A series of large porticoes, existing or planned, create three canopies. During school holidays and weekends, the street becomes a place for the creation of numerous neighbourhood dynamics: markets, flea markets, events; or simply a quiet place to meet.

In the interior of a saturated block, the childcare infrastructure is restructured through emptiness. It is organised around a large, calm and protective cloister which constitutes the heart of the day-care, a world apart.

On the Chaussée d'Ixelles, the old hotel currently housing school 4 is replaced by a new, open building, a new public face on this main commercial axis of the town. On each level, four classrooms communicate around a large central space. This new architecture is expressed as a large structure that sets the scene for the rhythm of the school.

(Extracts from the Competition Proposal)