Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

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Canal Belvédères

The brief called for the construction of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge, under the Sainctelette Bridge and the De Trooz Bridge. Rather than designing a bridge, the problem could be resolved by transforming the public space. The design has a double impact: it enhances mobility for pedestrians and cyclists and introduces an expanded public area to the city.

The canal that connects these two sites is largely a one-dimensional passage; it constitutes a major barrier, among others because of the height difference between the traffic above and the water below. By lowering the quays in well-defined places, this intervention establishes a new connection with the water. In addition to the raised streets and walkways, a wide "esplanade" is created along the water. This esplanade acts as an intermediate zone between the street and the water, creating a meandering public space that expands and contracts. The experience of pedestrians and cyclists is now closely connected with the water, which now becomes part of the public space.

At both sites, the esplanade widens into a public square that strengthens this contact with the canal. Green spaces are created that invite recreational use and pausing, instead of merely being a functional axis for slow traffic. Taken together, the two interventions add rhythm to the canal and connect the various traffic flows.

In collaboration with Util.

Brussels Mobility


Sainctelette Square & Square Jules De Trooz, Brussels (BE)

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