The Royal Rinking file in Ixelles still slips at the start

The file concerns the former Delhaize Molière and the entire area located between Chaussée de Waterloo and Rue Léon Jouret, otherwise known as the former Royal Rinking. This space within the block, for a long time a car park and delivery area, was originally designed in the early 20th century as an indoor ice rink of the kind that existed in Brussels before the First World War.

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Roller skating is also an invention of the Belgian, Hutois, Jean-Joseph Merlin. During the first demonstration of his roller skating adaptation in London at the end of the 18th century, when he failed to brake, he crashed into a mirror and was seriously injured. So he was also the inventor of the fall on roller skates!

In the case before us, the third mixed permit application submitted by Besix RED was also rejected by a unanimous negative opinion of the Ixelles Consultative Committee delivered on 24 April. Which sided with the arguments of local residents, who consider the project too dense.

The third project

As a reminder, the developer wanted to demolish the old supermarket and its above-ground car park and build a complex of buildings with 52 apartments, commercial and social facilities around a private inner lane with underground parking and cellars.

In this project, only the metal frame of the old rink would be preserved as a heritage witness.

For the non-profit organization One Block One Neighborhood, this is a relief after the commission’s negative opinion. “Developer Besix RED proposed for the third time in seven years the demolition of the ‘Royal Rinking’ in Ixelles to replace it with residential blocks, mainly in the entire block, and commercial areas on the ground floor. The unanimous negative opinion of the consultative commission (composed of representatives of the Brussels-Capital Region and municipality of Ixelles) to a large extent corresponds to the criticism of local residents The opinion stigmatizes in particular the number of still too many exceptions to the rules of urban planning due to excessive heights, depths and dimensions The opinion mainly aims to protect the interiors of the block, as set out in the Brussels regulations, and the commission calls for more open terrain and vegetation, which adds that “the construction of an apartment complex requires a significant improvement of the interior of the block”.

On April 24, the Consultative Committee unanimously rejected this third project from promoter Besix RED.

In its opinion, the commission is primarily opposed to the “maisonettes” and apartments that the developer intended to build in the block around the private courtyard, as there would be numerous visual and noise obstacles. This project “damages the residential properties of neighboring buildings“, must also “to provide more facilities of common interest given the scale of the project and the needs of the neighborhood“, says the advisory committee. In this new project, Besix RED has in fact come up with an area of ​​200 m² of facilities of common interest on the rue Léon Jouret side: it is too little for the committee.

Open dialog

From now on, the Un île un district committee hopes that the owner of the site will finally respect the urban and ecological regulations in force in the Brussels region, as well as heritage, and start a real dialogue with the residents of the district.

Admittedly, this dialogue is not easy to initiate between a developer who bought an expensive and ugly plot of land with the promise of doing almost what he wanted there to make it profitable, and the reality of the site: block interiors cannot be condensed in this border neighborhood Uccle and Ixelles, already densely populated but lacking many things, starting with community facilities.

However, for the residents, the space of the old ice rink would be spectacular to accommodate a concert hall, socio-cultural and/or sports space, or even why not redevelop the place for its primary purpose: an ice rink (although the Royal Rinking only had a very short existence, interrupted before the First World War).

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In its third version, in the hope of gaining support, Besix RED turned, in addition to the Moatti-Rivière architects already present, to the Ixel architecture firm B2Ai, which was supposed to know the local terrain better.

The non-profit organization, local residents and residents of the Molière-Tenbosch-Brugmann district also invited two young architects, Apolline Jansen and Vittoria Poletto, to outline a new approach that is radically different from the latest Besix RED project: housing in accordance with urban planning regulations along the Chaussée de Waterloo and Rue Léon Jouret and at the same time offers two options for the “Royal Rinking” hall: either to keep it for various public uses (a solution preferred by local residents) or to demolish it and turn it into a public garden in the event of a problem with non-compliance with safety standards.

If this time Besix, like Merlin, broke his face, then in the future the final result of Royal Rinking is not similar to the success of roller skating.

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