Part of a large group of military buildings constructed in the early twentieth century, the gendarmerie school is a listed Brussels heritage site. Its design reflects its initial use as a training and accommodation centre for mounted gendarmes, and this feature and its architectural formalism give it an originality and a quality that are worthy of preservation.
Ixelles Barracks is set apart from the rest of the district by the fact that it is enclosed and surrounded by a high wall. This inward-looking quality will be partially maintained in order to preserve the site’s interaction with its surroundings and its peaceful quality, but partially removed in order to make it visible, accessible and vibrant. The buildings, arranged in a grid pattern, will be largely renovated and adapted to their new uses: the barracks will thus keep their sober and solemn quality and their brick and blue stone appearance.
The corner buildings will also be renovated and showcased. They will help to make the site’s layout comprehensible, offering a landmark both within the site and to visitors coming from outside, whether from Etterbeek railway station or the La Plaine campus.
The riding school, a centrally placed and remarkable building, will be preserved and modernised. It will become a vast market and events hall – a place for encounters and social occasions. The central courtyard facing it will also continue to be used as an open central square, but for the district as a whole.
New structures replacing obsolete ones will adhere to the overall layout principles and be designed with proportions and heights that ensure that they blend into the site. A new green open space will link old and new structures in the north-west part of the site and encourage local residents to enter.