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The European Commission and the city of Brussels presented today the winners of a design competiton for the Brussels EU quarter. This is how Rue de la Loi could look like:

Tram on Rue de la Loi
Tram on Rue de la Loi

To illustrate the drastic difference, this is how Rue de la Loi looks today:

Rue de la Loi (picture by guzi4real/flickr)
Rue de la Loi (picture by guzi4real/flickr)

So will there really be a tram on Rue de la Loi? I’d say that it is quite unlikely. Already Brussels minister-president Charles Picqué was cautious in the press conference: one would have to evaluate the proposals in light of several constraints, he said.

I certainly welcome a more-or-less car-free Rue de la Loi, but I doubt having an underground metro and a tram at ground level on the same street would be practical. But one has to see this probably in the light of the completely re-built mobility hub around Schuman, which will include a modernised train station.

Appartment buildings on Rue de la Loi?

One interesting aspect of the plan is to have more mixed areas within the EU quartier. This means that there will also be residential buildings on Rue de la Loi.

I just wonder: who will want (and will be able to afford) an appartment on Rue de la Loi, except eurocrats? It’s a nice idea, but it comes a bit late (50 years ago the whole area was full of residential houses). It will in my view not improve the link between (Belgian) citizens and the EU in Brussels.

The whole view

Finally the big picture (the skyscrapers would be among the tallest buildings in Brussels):

Winning design of the Brussels urban planning competition for the EU quarter
Winning design of the Brussels urban planning competition for the EU quarter

One last note: this is just a project, although Picqué said works could start already in 2011.

Read also: Making Brussels beautiful by Honor Mahony.

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  1. Good to see that the peasantry will have been swept away from the European Unions triumphal way. Can’t have the hoi poloi mucking things up for us now can we.

    Seriously though, ugly, brutal, inhuman, (yes you are right ruddy expensive) and will no doubt do wonders for Brusselaar/Eurcrat relations.

  2. Not only the hoi poloi but it seems that the entire Parliament has left. I guess it is in Strassbourg…

  3. I think the EP got cut off on the picture. But for some reason the urban design competition only took into account a very specific area around Rue de la Loi.

  4. These plans look absolutely ghastly. Brussels is not a high rise city and the high-rise buildings it has are amongst its ugliest.

    The idea that people will want to live on rue de la loi is pure fantasy. That aspiration ended when they tore down the residential houses to build the present existing modern structures. They are about to commit the same mistake again although with taller structures.

    Trees, Trams..? Don’t make me laugh! The artists just put then their to assuage the green lobby. They will never appear.

    It will also condemn the area to years of building and construction that will no doubt go over budget and over schedule – and the EU will get all the blame for this from the euroscpetic lot. In short, this is hubris that will lead to nemesis.

  5. To brusselsblogger
    The EP can not be on the picture: it is on the right-bottom corner of the picture, behind the street…

  6. Indeeed, terrible plans. I can’t really see any improvement, somehow it does not look very different. Just a replacement of ugly medium sized office blocks with big ugly skyscrapers… and the street lamps seem to have transformed into trees.

  7. The street lamps are great- shame, id miss them. They did move the biciycle path off the sidewalk, some improvements. But why do they need highrises? Perhaps they need to ensure that there is NO light in brussels to support innovation in sun tan booths. Perhaps it is a new Brussels agenda- By the year 2020, Brussels will have more tanning booths than pharmacies and hair salons…

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘1055386704 which is not a hashcash value.

  8. Lovely. That cuts off the last significant drivable street that goes from E40 and the north-east into the city. I hope they are also planning a gigantic park-and-ride around Woluwe somewhere.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘1055386704 which is not a hashcash value.

  9. Given the increasing role of new technologies (emails, internet, webbinars, conference calls, etc.), don’t you think the EU quarter map will rather look like a digital EU map…?

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘1055386704 which is not a hashcash value.

  10. Brussel’s capital region shamelessly used tax funds 20 year’s ago to build a never ending new Rue de la Loi. The project was presented by former Brussels minister Chabert as heaven on earth: hanging Babylonian gardens with sphere lights and nice pavement for passengers to walk or bike peacefully from Parc Cinquantenaire to Parc Royal…. Now they seem to be looking for a new project to shift a lot of money into the pockets..I just pray they will put enough garbage bins as these are sadly missing.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘1055386704 which is not a hashcash value.

  11. It has been a long time that I was in Brussels. But I remember the traffic jams very well. So this concept has it’s charme. However, I agree with the author that the idea of setting up flats at the Rue de la Loi is a point one should think about again. Makes no sense to me.

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