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René Pechère Garden Restored in Brussels, Belgium

René Pechère Garden Restored in Brussels, Belgium

The René Pechère Garden in the administrative neighborhood of Brussels, Belgium has been rebuilt exactly as it used to be. The renovation of the entire area is coming along little by little. “Even if there are not very many of them, Brussels’ citizens deserve a renovated green space.” Indeed, there are not yet very many

The René Pechère Garden in the administrative neighborhood of Brussels, Belgium has been rebuilt exactly as it used to be. The renovation of the entire area is coming along little by little.

René Pechère Gardens in Administrative Complex Brussels, Belgium show geometric landscape design with maze-like hedges broken up with gray paths and fountains

“Even if there are not very many of them, Brussels’ citizens deserve a renovated green space.”

Indeed, there are not yet very many inhabitants on this side of the administrative neighborhood, stuck between la Petite Ceinture, La Rue Royale, and Le Boulevard Pacheco. But it is those citizens, of course, and their numerous future neighbors, that Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène, the City of Brussels’ Deputy of Urban Planning, was thinking of when he made this comment. He also broke the news that the restoration of the splendid gardens that stretch out from the base of Finance Tower and Congress Column is finished. It must be said that during this winter season, the changes to the garden’s look cannot be fully enjoyed. But “all trees take root,” and the plants will certainly show off their colors in the spring, when the fountains also come back to life.

It is without a doubt a bit offensive to speak of “The” René Pechère garden, because the famous architect and landscape architect created some 900 gardens. The Botanical Garden of Brussels and the gardens of the Museum Van Buuren in Brussels have made him famous around the world. But this one here, erected between 1958 and 1970, is particularly illustrative of his oeuvre, both in its geometry and hardscape. It is also, for those who work around its perimeter, a peaceful haven in which to eat a sandwich in the summer. The federal police, who have just moved into offices in a restored tower of the administrative complex, will have occasion to rejoice when the garden comes into bloom this spring. To note: the public cannot yet access the park from Congress Column, because construction is still being done. They can, however, enter the park via an escalator at 202A Rue Royale, or from Finance Tower.

René Pechère Garden Administrative Complex in Brussels, Belgium. View of geometric gardens with modern administrative buildings in background

With regards to the construction site, the restructuring of the immense space of this complex is far from being fully completed. But it is coming along little by little. On the Rue de Ligne, a large office building being partially transformed into housing is well on its way: the future apartments are already being sold on speculation, the deputy specifies. And it is in thinking of the apartments’ future occupants that he has pushed entrepreneurs to accelerate the demolition of what buildings are still standing along Rue Montagne de l’Oratoire.

Demolition

“Building permits have not yet been submitted for the area where we plan to construct a school and more housing units,” explains Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène. And normally, they don’t give us a permit for demolition before having given a permit to build after. But in this case we have to think about the future inhabitants of La Rue de Ligne, and to help avoid complaints from them if we are doing demolition after they are all moved in. I will therefore put forward their demolition demand as a top priority for the communal council as soon as they submit it.”

“And when they finish the renovation of the blind wall that borders Le Boulevard Pacheco, a monumental escalator will pierce the wall and link the boulevard to the garden,” the deputy reiterates. “The promoters are looking forward to that as much as me. That will make the space more convivial, and will also open up the Notre-Dame aux Neiges neighborhood -so that it is less isolated.”

How has your city used urban planning and landscape design to make new areas of town more convivial? How have common spaces brought life back to areas where you live?

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

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Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

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