The BIP Regional Centre
The Urban Planning Corporation (sau-msi.brussels) is the owner of the BIP Regional Centre site, located at the corner of Rue Royale and Place Royale, between the Museum of Musical Instruments and the Royal Palace. Generally known as ‘BIP’ (short for ‘Brussels Info Place’), or sometimes as the ‘Complexe Royale’, the site is a showcase for the Brussels-Capital Region.
The Regional Government has tasked the SAU with constructing a modular building here to accommodate a new page in the culture of Belgium and Brussels: Philippe Geluck’s ‘LE CHAT cartoon museum’. This new cultural institution will be accessible via the gate, flanked by two lions, of 6 Rue Royale, by which the Cour des Lions is entered to the right of the BIP buildings. On a plot of land which also belongs to the SAU, enclosed between the BIP buildings and Bozar, is a building which has long been disused and lacks any historical interest. It is the only edifice not to be listed on this particularly dense historical and cultural site. It will be replaced by a new building which has been the subject of close consultation with the Royal Commission on Monuments and Sites.
- The SAU has appointed the Atelier Pierre Hebbelinck following a public call for tenders organised to select the architect of this future building.
- The SAU will finance the construction of the modular building shell, while Philippe Geluck will cover all interior fittings, with the support of his private patrons and sponsors.
- ‘LE CHAT cartoon museum’ will occupy a gross floor area of some 4,000 m2 on seven levels, including four above ground.
- As it will take up a position between a number of listed buildings, on a site marked by several layers in the history of the country, the SAU has engaged in extensive dialogue with the Royal Commission on Monuments and Sites and the non-profit organisation Mont des Arts.
- The SAU has also been in contact with the neighbouring cultural institutions from the start in order to optimise its work on this site and, hopefully, ensure that they too stand to benefit. Thus the building will provide the Palais du Coudenberg with a new link between the archaeological remains located in the basement and the rest of the exhibits on the ground floor, making the museum tour more accessible for people with reduced mobility in particular. In addition, several basement levels will be created to allow Bozar to enlarge its storage space; it will have direct access to these levels via the upper floor of its Salle Henry Le Bœuf.
- The SAU plans to introduce the planning application in 2019, to start construction work in 2020 and to complete it in 2022. Philippe Geluck's team will then see to the interior fittings, ready for the museum to open in 2023.