Cities within the city

Among the numerous projects that come into being in Brussels, many are designed as true multi-functional centres, coherent, indeed autarkical units, “cities within the city”. Demolished in 2001, the Rogier International Centre gathered together an impressive number of functions: apartments, offices, theatre, exhibition rooms, commercial galleries, bank, general clinic, car parking, bus station, service station and panoramic restaurant.

Its site set up on the Heysel plateau on the eve of the Expo 58, the Model City had to offer visitors a clear picture of modern designs in the area of social housing (La Maison, issue 8, 1960).

This vertiginous collection fascinates today with its desolate look, its limitless views of monumental buildings infinitely repeating concrete, aluminium and white sandwich panels.

It is difficult to appreciate that the City aimed at the elevation of human dignity and the harmonious integration of the individual within a community. It needs to be said that the complex remains incomplete. The City was to have formed an almost self-sufficient unit, equipped with cultural, social, commercial and medical centres, a church, schools, a gymnasium and sports fields.