Design for the revamped Koning Boudewijn Stadion at Heysel is expected to be revealed soon. The message came after renowned architect suggested that the stadium should be built in a different location.
As you may recall, the Belgian FA (KBVB) and event agency Golazo (hosts of the annual Memorial Van Damme) had invited seven leading Belgian universities to create concepts for a new national stadium, based on the redevelopment of Koning Boudewijn Stadion. The principle was to deliver a 40,000-seat versatile stadium within an estimated budget of €150-200 million.
The competition was supposed to end early in 2020 but no winner was ever announced. So prof. Francis Metzger of Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) this week caught the attention of media nationwide, revealing his team's design. Its unique quality is that it opposes (!) the competition's conditions. Instead of revamping the old stadium, Metzger's team has proposed a brand new venue just east of the stadium, on the site of Trade Mart Brussels.
According to Metzger, renovating Heysel makes no financial sense. It would cost roughly as much as a brand new stadium, while delivering an insufficient outcome. Also, the current stadium has a limit on major events of 10 annually, set in order to satisfy developer of surrounding mixed use complex Neo 1.
For this reason Metzer proposed a different location, even if within 400 meters away. The architect also suggested he would be meeting to discuss the plan with authorities in Brussels, immediately gathering the media's spotlight. However, today his claims were strongly denied by the city.
Benoit Hellings, alderman for sports (responsible for the project), has stressed that there is no agreement with prof. Metzger, nor was his concept accepted for further evaluation because it doesn't meet the competition's rules.
Forced update on the redevelopment's stage
Whle responding to prof. Metzger's claims, Hellings “First and foremost: there is no agreement whatsoever between the City of Brussels, AG Real Estate and the architect Francis Metzger”, Alderman Hellings told BRUZZ.
“A meeting is planned on Friday between the mayor and AG Real Estate, among others, but it will not be about the Heysel Stadium and Mr. Metzger will not be present at that meeting.”
While today's meeting wasn't about the stadium project, Hellings also admitted that there isn't any single winning concept for the stadium, at least not yet. Several media outlets have confirmed that the vision hasn't changed, a 40,000-seat stadium on the site of Koning Boudewijn Stadion is still the plan and “a concrete plan can be drawn up in the short term to proceed with the renovation.” Updates are therefore expected within the next few months.