Modern solar technology in an historic context, Gare Maritime

Part 6 / 15 of the series "Solar architecture at its best – Excellent projects from the Architecture Award Building Integrated Solar Technology 2022 introduced briefly"

Gare Maritime, Brussels (Belgium)

The Gare Maritime, an imposing building with three larger and four smaller halls that was once Europe’s largest freight station following its completion in 1908, has been transformed into a multi-purpose complex. A marketplace with eating areas has been created in the central part, while the outer areas house uses such as offices, retail and commerce.

Following its refurbishment and conversion, this valuable structural testimony to the industrial revolution in Belgium has also been extended to create a solar power plant. PV modules are arranged across almost the entire surface of the southeast- and northwest-facing gable roofs that cover the three large, elongated halls. A slightly matt surface prevents
stronger reflections. In agreement with the local authorities, it was decided not to cover the roofs of the outer, lower halls with PV modules, as these would have been visible from the surrounding urban realm. 3.3 MW was still able to be installed across a 16,464 m2 area.

In addition, semi-transparent modules were installed in the glazed gable façades in the southwest. 204 modules with generously spaced cells were used, which, in addition to the installed PV power of 38.8 kW across 331 m2, also provide solar shading and daylight utilisation, as well as enabling an effective indoor-outdoor relationship. A rare example of
how modern solar technology can be used with confidence even in a historic façade.

The project received an award by the jury of the “Architecture Award Building-Integrated Solar Technology 2022“.

Project partners
Owner: Nextensa
Architects: Neutelings Riedijk Architects + Bureau Bouwtechniek

Get an Overview of the series "Solar architecture at its best – Excellent projects from the Architecture Award Building Integrated Solar Technology 2022 introduced briefly“

About the Architecture Award Building Integrated Solar Technology

The “Architecture Award Building-Integrated Solar Technology“ was started in the year 2000 by the Solarenergieförderverein Bayern (Bavarian Association for the Promotion of Solar Energy) and held since then for the 9th time. The award is established as an international competition concerning the interface between architecture and solar energy. The prize honors exemplary contributions of planning and designing building-integrated solar systems.

In the last edition of the competition the jury singled out 15 projects from 121 entries, which we want to present in a series. The jury was unanimous in its positive assessment that even with very different building tasks, and in different environments, these projects show that photovoltaic modules and solar thermal collectors can be successfully integrated with equal ambition in terms of design and technology.

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