«The university and the city: the case of Brussels»

Second activity in the cycle of lunch debates on the theme «A World of Cities» which the University Foundation organises, in collaboration with "la Fondation pour l’environnement urbain Pierre Laconte", for the members of the Foundation and also for a larger public (faculties, economic, social and cultural organisations, ...).

Debate introduced by Rector Didiers Viviers and Dean Francis Metzger.

Rector Didier VIVIERS discusses the situation of the ULB in Brussels, the problems and opportunities. Brussels is the main university city in the country. The University ULB is the most important employer of Brussels (8,000 employees). However its infrastructure does not match its ecomomic weight. An urbanistic and architectural opportunity is generated by the army buildings which become vacant. This yields opportunities for the development of research activities and of student housing integrated in the city quarters.

Professor Francis Mezger, internationally known architect, was awarded three times the "Europa Nostra Award" (renovation of the Villa Empain, renovation of the Library Solvay, renovation of the "Autrique House") and the Award "Quartier des Arts" for the ongoing renoavation of the Central Staion. He discusses the architectural challenges of the ULB and also the challenges imposed by the obligation to reduce the energy consumption in the design, the realisation and the maintenance of its buildings.