The best architectural renaissances in Brussels

Our series on transformed spaces and places comes to an end today with a final poke around the converted dust spots of our beloved capital, Brussels. After shining a light on Antwerp and Ghent‘s most striking architectural conversions, we close this chapter with brewery-turned-contemporary art centre Wiels, a former jewellery factory, and Recyclart, an arts centre located in a former train station – vividly captured on film by young photographers Adriaan Hauwaert and Jef Claes.

Wiels, Brussels


From its heyday as the brewery with the largest brew hall in Europe, this particular construction, built in 1930 by Belgian architect Adrien Blomme, has been turned into a renowned contemporary art centre and serves as an international laboratory for the creation and diffusion of contemporary art. After renovations that first started in January 2005, Wiels (owned by the Brussels City authorities) finally threw open its doors in May 2007. Besides exhibition space, it also features studios with sleeping digs for artists in residency.

La bijouterie, Brussels

The mesmerising space that just a little while ago played host to our Orange Album release party, was recently bought by the three architects Jo Huygh, Frank Kerkhofs and Karine Van Doninck. This 19th century building, once a maison de maitre with stables, later a tram museum and lastly home to jewellery makers, spans 1350 square meters of space. It’s currently home to a number of artists, along with their work and exhibition spaces – but only until it’s transformed yet again into an office space, an art hotel and maybe even a wellness area with sauna, to be located inside the ancient walk-in jewellery safe.

Recyclart, Brussels

This train station – constructed in 1952 and abandoned again in 1974 – is now home to a multidisciplinary arts and professional training centre with an integrated bar and restaurant. You’ve all surely heard of Recyclart? It hosts activities and events, from parties to exhibitions to wood and metal workshops. Organised by the non-profit organisation Recyclart and subsidised by the local authorities, the federal government and the Flemish and French speaking communities of Belgium, the train station, (still active during daytime on weekdays) was renovated from 1997 onwards and opened its doors back in 2000.