RTBF (Radio Télévision Belge Francophone)
2015 / Brussels, BE
The new headquarters of the RTBF is conceived as a simple square volume with an inclined roof. Set in an urban context of ambiguous qualities, and in direct proximity to the small scale neighbouring houses at its back, the project tries to be at once blunt and urban and subtle and generous: both box and roof. The big square is defined by a metal grid perimeter. This perimeter separates clearly the content of the ‘public’ building from the public realm. Opening or closing different windows makes the RTBF building more or less accessible. The big square plan is organised as a set of smaller volumes based on an 8 by 8 concrete column grid. The volumes are created by defining an inner glass perimeter, thus creating various sets of thresholds that allow the different levels of publicness of the complex its particular place. The combined plan has a certain complexity without giving up a simple organisational structure. The separate volumes of the ‘captured city’ are thus all interrelated and are neither completely independent nor all the same. They have a band like organisation, with an increased level of accessibility towards the main square, and a logistic face towards its back. Inside the contain floors of different heights, and create a stepped working environment, central to the building. It is this stepped office landscape that gives space to the redactions and the radio studios protected by a gigantic roof. The roof which is made out of the same metal grid as the perimeter facade,is oriented to the south. Acting as a climate veil, it mediates light and climate. At crucial points the plot is kept vacant, thus creating a set of inner gardens. The gardens and the roof give the building its distinct character: both greenhouse and ‘boîte à miracles’.