Manufakture Anderlecht

Competition project for a new building with 3,200 m2 of food studios, a swimming pool complex with 1 outdoor and 3 indoor pools plus 432-space car park building




Competition second place






Van Bergen Kolpa Architecten
partner architect
Ney + Partners
structural engineering

Manufakture is a design for a multifunctional food building on the Abattoir site; the oldest former cattle market in Anderlecht, Brussels. The striking building is one of the new and image-defining 'urban warehouses' around the future Market Square.

The building is a flexible skeleton with a stacking of functions. The plinth contains meat cutting workshops around a logistics hall and facilities for the market master. Above it is a two-storey car park for visitors and market staff. In time, the parking structure can also be transformed into food ateliers. On the roof is a swimming pool complex overlooking the skyline of Brussels. The indoor and outdoor pools are heated with the residual heat from the cooling of the food workshops.

The symmetrical layout of the building, at the heart of the urban axis of the site, forms a powerful ensemble with the historical market hall opposite. The entire building manifests itself as a strong sculpture composed of a rhythm of robust concrete frames refined with recessed infills of glass and slightly shiny sheet metal.

Abattoir site

The Abattoir site has always been known as the place for cattle trade in combination with a slaughterhouse and meat cutting workshops. But the site has undergone a true metamorphosis in recent years. Not only is the reduction of meat consumption being anticipated and other types of food being produced and processed; the Abattoir site is also being revitalised spatially, programmatically and energetically on the basis of a multi-year master plan with new public spaces, commercial functions and sustainable energy generation.

Sustainable construction

The building is conceived as a construction for eternity. The resistant, durable concrete structure is a passe-partout for changing use, both today and within 30 years or 300 years. The neutral structure with uninterrupted floor slabs on axis size 7.80m x 7.80m can be partitioned with maximum flexibility to accommodate a wide range of functions such as catering, trade or school buildings in the future. Circulation and piping shafts are therefore provided as 'loose' components on the outside of the structure. These stairs, elevators and parking spirals can easily be adapted or extended with, for example, a goods or truck elevator or escalator. Finally, the relatively deep construction volume of 115m x 60m has been optimised for future use with a central patio allowing the building to enjoy good daylight.

Circular principles

The Manufakture building has been prepared for the circular ambitions of the Abattoir site. For example, part of the materialization of the building will be realized in renewable biobased sandwich panels. Circular principles have also been integrated into the energy and water management. For example, the indoor and outdoor baths will be heated with the residual heat from the cooling of the food workshops; and the process water from the food workshops in the building will be collected for reuse. Finally, the roofs are used to generate solar power.

Logistics Hall and Ateliers

The meat cutting workshops on the ground floor require a smooth supply and transport of refrigerated food products by lorry. In order to minimise the inconvenience of these industrial activities to the surrounding area, a central logistics hall has been provided in the heart of the building. The internal organisation of the logistics makes it possible to create an all-sided and lively plinth around the building.

By means of two easily controlled entrance gates, the thermal and acoustically separated hall is opened up within which all the necessary dock shelters are provided. In the logistics hall, food can thus be transported directly, without interrupting the cold chain, to the surrounding cutting workshops. The column-free hall with its monumental proportions has a roof made of glass and steel that lets in a lot of daylight, which makes it possible to change its use into, for example, a public or sports hall in the future.

In the intermediate floors of the building on levels +2 and +3, 420 public parking spaces will be provided, accessible via a parking spiral. The grid of columns offers the possibility to configure a maximum efficient parking that can be transformed into an extension with food workshops in the future. All around there is a safe footpath that in time could form an interesting gazebo at the level of the future workshop functions.

Urban roof

On level +5 is the public swimming pool complex consisting of three indoor pools and an outdoor pool situated around a catering facility with sunny outdoor terrace. The cooling installations of the food workshops on level 0 provide heat recovery that the swimming pool complex can enjoy. The indoor and outdoor pools offer a spectacular view of the Brussels skyline.