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CONFERENCE: Urban Lunch # 150

For the past several years, Urban has been organizing a series of conferences that reunite the private and public sectors on matters such as architecture, urban renovation and cultural heritage. These conferences, known under the name of “Urban Lunch”, are the occasion to meet, greet, learn and exchange around urban topics.

For the opening of the 2023-2024 season, we invite you to discover three milestone projects that have had a huge impact on the actual architectural landscape of Brussels. These projects will be presented by their respective authors, amongst whom we are honored to welcome the architect Peter St John, kindly joining us from London on this special occasion.

This 150th edition of Urban Lunch will be introduced by Bety Waknine, general manager of Urban, with the exceptional participation of the State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region, in charge of Urbanism and Cultural Heritage, Mrs. Ans Persoons.

Register now for this conference scheduled on the 12th September.

Brussels, an inspiring city for architecture

Is Brussels slowly becoming an architecture hotspot on the worldwide map? The city is already a renown pioneer in urban renovation and has set an example with regards to heritage restoration techniques. Could it also become the breeding ground for an architectural revival? In the last few years, the city has definitely seen a major shift in perception, and thanks to some key projects like the following ones.

— Presentation by Philippe Viérin, noAarchitecten agency

The renovation of the incredible 1930s Citroën complex will be completed next year, and in its wake, it has already brought a whole new dynamic to the district. Following an international competition, the agencies noAarchitecten (Brussels), EM2N (Zurich) and Sergison Bates architects (London) were commissioned to lead this ambitious repurposing of the complex.

— Presentation by Johan Anrys, 51N4E architecture agency

The Victoria Tower (formerly the “IBM Tower”) in the North district of Brussels, built in 1974, has been completely redesigned by the architectural firm 51N4E and by teams from SuReal, a company specialising in sustainable development: 80% of the building has been preserved, and particular attention has been paid to re-using existing materials (Rotor). The complex has been adapted to provide a mix of functions (offices, hotel and catering, etc.) and the roof is now accessible to people from all over Brussels.

— Presentation by Peter St John of the Caruso St John Architects agency

Peter St John
Peter St John of the Caruso St John Architects agency in London.

Located in an 11 hectares of lush parkland, The Royale Belge building (René Stapels and Pierre Dufau) is Belgium’s most iconic 1960s building. The agencies Caruso St John Architects (GB) Bovenbouw Architectuur (BE) and DDS + (BE) won a design competition to restore and convert the building. This 40,000 m² former insurance company was legally preserved by Urban in 2019 and has recently been successfully reopened.


  • Date: 12.09.2023
  • Place: KBR Auditorium, Boulevard de l'Empereur 2, 1000 Brussels
  • Reception and lunch (complimentary): 11.30 a.m. to 12.15 p.m.
  • Conferences: 12.15 p.m. to 1.40 p.m.
  • Discussion over coffee: 1.40 p.m. to 2 p.m.
La Royale Belge
La Royale Belge - Maxime Delvaux ©