After the crisis triggered by the 1929 Wall Street Crash, there was a marked revival in the popularity of cars, prompting the major carmakers to move en masse to the centre of Brussels. Thus, Citroën decided to relocate from Saint-Gilles/Sint-Gillis to a much busier site in 1934. For its chosen location in Place de l’Yser/IJzerplein, it opted for an imposing design in a functionalist style, produced by architects Alexis Dumont and Marcel Van Goethem, based on plans drawn up by André Citroën. Featuring an aerodynamic roof, the metal-framed modernist building has a surface area of around 40,000 m², which is bathed in light thanks to its huge glazed façades. Five extra levels subdividing the showroom were added in 1959. Originally, the complex was home to the administrative staff, a large showroom, repair shops, warehouses for spare parts and a service station (on the Quai de Willebroeck/Willebroekkaai side).
The gem that is the Citroën garage was bought in 2015 by the Brussels-Capital Region, which tasked its Urban Development Corporation (SAU-MSI) with developing an international cultural hub. The Kanal Foundation was responsible for implementing the project, in cooperation with the International Centre for the City, Architecture and Landscape (CIVA) and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The complex, which opened in 2018, is now undergoing a complete makeover, due for completion in 2024. KANAL envisages becoming a major multidisciplinary cultural institution and a centre of exchange open to all, featuring not only a museum of modern and contemporary art and an architecture museum (hence CIVA’s involvement), exhibitions and restaurants, but also many multifunctional public spaces – in short, a vibrant place to meet and interact, at the heart of a neighbourhood on the move!
Waymarked tour of the site. KANAL staff and communications teams will be on hand throughout to give you more information and answer your questions.
Musical entertainment by Fanfakids.
The Maison du Projet at number 12, Place Sainctelette/Saincteletteplein, right opposite KANAL-Centre Pompidou, will also be open to visitors, providing the perfect complement to your tour. There, among other things, you will find graphic documents, models and samples of construction materials, offering you an insight into the architectural plans and the work in progress.
sign-languageGuided tours in French Belgian Sign Language: Sat. at 15:00 and Sun. at 13:30. In cooperation with Arts & Culture.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Quai de Willebroeck/Willebroekkaai 7, Brussels
By reservation only
Accessible with assistance