Brussels region works on the future of St-Gilles prison site

On the initiative of Secretary of State for Urbanism and Heritage Pascal Smet, the Brussels government has approved to launch the procedure to protect various parts of the St-Gilles prison. This procedure is an important step towards the future reconversion of the entire prison site.

On the initiative of Secretary of State for Urbanism and Heritage Pascal Smet, the Brussels government has approved to launch the procedure to protect various parts of the St-Gilles prison. This procedure is an important step towards the future reconversion of the entire prison site.

“The future lies in the cities and we are preparing this future carefully in Brussels. Thanks to its unique heritage value and location, the St-Gilles prison site has great potential to become a beautiful new city district. It is important to already protect elements such as the watchtowers, the central hall, the entrance porch, the chapel and the inner gardens without jeopardising a multifunctional future of the site. This future city district has the potential to surpass by far the Groen Kwartier of Antwerp and that should also be our ambition!” says Pascal Smet.

In time, the new prison complex of Haren, which is currently being built, will replace the outdated prisons of St-Gilles, Forest and Berkendael. Once this new prison is fully in use and the current federal prisons are out of use the Brussels-Capital Region is interested in becoming the owner of the site and wants to develop it into a new, multifunctional city district.  

In order to prepare this future development as well as possible, the procedure to extend the protection of the prison building as a monument because of its historic, aesthetic and social value has been launched today.
Specifically, it includes:

  • - the entire enclosure wall along Avenue Ducpétiaux and the lateral protrusions at both sides, up to the first turrets;
  • - all watchtowers demarcating the entire prison perimeter;
  • - the gardens on both sides of the entrance, behind the enclosure wall of Avenue Ducpétiaux;
  • - the original protrusion of the entrance (facades and roofs) giving access to the central prison wing, including the inner courtyard delimited by the entrance buildings;
  • - the central core (facades and roofs) with the chapel (as a whole) and the first bay of the cell wings connected to it;
  • - the central wing (facades and roofs) situated in the entrance continuation.
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