Three benefits of the automated dimmable, electrochromic solar control glazing were of crucial importance for real estate developer Extensa: its ease of use, the avoidance of disruptive solar control elements on the historic facade as well as its integration within the Circular Economy Concept. The development of the 30 ha „Tour et Taxis” site in Brussels is a work in progress. But there is every indication that, similarly to the Hamburg Hafencity, it can become the centre point of an exciting, urban development project.
The revitalisation of the very dilapidated industrial site could also succeed in making the surrounding, former working class district more attractive. A milestone was already set in 2008 by means of the renovation of the impressive Royal Warehouse, and the other building ensemble are now following, bit by bit.
A living neighbourhood is emerging in the former warehouses
Built at the beginning of the 20th century, the „Tour et Taxis” site was one of the most important freight handling centres in Europe with warehouses, offices, customs buildings, the largest freight station in Europe at the time and a direct connection to the Brussels-Scheldt maritime canal until the 1980s.
Belgian real estate developer Extensa has set itself the ambitious task of preserving the authentic character of these gems of Belgian industrial architecture, while simultaneously transposing them to the modern age. It is expected that the department stores of the former Gare Maritime goods station will have been completely rebuilt under the leadership of Neutelings Riedijk Architekten by mid-2019. The seven interconnected halls cover an area of more than 40,000 sq. metres and are up to 23 metres in height. Fortunately, it has been possible to retain the well-preserved, historic supporting structure made of metal cross beams. In conjunction with the use of a great deal of wood, brick floors and glass, a modern and light-filled district has been created beneath it, where people work, go shopping, eat and spend their free time. “Barcelona’s climate in Brussels” - is how Extensa describes the roofed town, the central “Rambla” of which is an impressive 270 metres in length.
Halio glass boosts comfort and a sustainability strategy
In order to prevent overheating and to minimise glare during periods of intense sunshine, Extensa opted to install a total of 1,633 sq. metres of sensor-controlled dimmable Halio panels. A total of 600 triple-glazed insulating glass units with low-e coating embedded in narrow steel frames will be installed.
Mechanical solar control was dismissed at the very start of the project, as we didn’t want to change the overall impression of this wonderful, century old facade through the addition of more elements, explains Extensa COO Peter de Durpel, its ease of use also won us over.
A third, but hardly insignificant reason for opting for Halio was the positive contribution it made towards Extensa’s sustainability strategy. The project developer is pursuing a circular economy concept that has unnecessary material avoidance and a positive carbon footprint as its primary targets.
We are immensely proud to be involved as partners in this urban flagship project – declared General Manager of Halio International, Benoît Domercq. The Gare Maritime will become a modern Smart City with an irresistible, historical charm. Our Halio glass system contributes towards a pleasant and vibrant daylight atmosphere while keeping the energy consumption levels for solar control and air conditioning technology to a minimum.
Halio International views its system as the most advanced daylight management system currently available on the market. The maximum level of dimming is reached in a mere 3 minutes.
A special benefit, particularly in this type of historical environment is the complete colour neutrality in the untinted state and the uniform tinting in subtle shades of grey – adds sales manager Jagger – without any distracting blue cast or disturbing gradients. Halio seamlessly merges within the overall visual impression of the facades.