The Rue de l’Ermitage/Kluisstraat site was originally home to a secondary coal-fired power plant, which mainly supplied the Brussels tram network. Although electrification did not start until 1894, by 1903 the Rue de l’Ermitage/Kluisstraat facility was no longer enough to meet demand, as a major power plant had to be set up at Quai Fernand Demets/Fernand Demetskaai in Anderlecht. Converted into offices for the Brussels intermunicipal water company Compagnie Intercommunale Bruxelloise des Eaux/Brusselse Intercommunale Watermaatschappij (CIBE/BIWM) in 1983, the building, to which a major extension was added, now houses the International Centre for the City, Architecture and Landscape (CIVA). To this end, the premises were restored, extended and adapted to their new functions thanks to the joint efforts of architects Jean-Philippe Garric, Bernard Quirot, Valérie Nègre and Joseph Altuna, who were the winners of an international competition. CIVA is a museum, an archive center, a library and a meeting place for lovers of architecture, landscape architecture, urban ecosystems and history in Brussels. Throughout the year, CIVA organizes temporary exhibitions, lectures, debates, guided tours, book launches and activities for children. The activities are organized in Ixelles, near Place Flagey and in the center of Brussels, in KANAL-Centre Pompidou.
Behind-the-scenes tours of CIVA: Sat. & Sun. at 11:00 and 13:00 (in French); 11:30 and 13:30 (in Dutch). This tour will take you behind the scenes of CIVA’s architectural and landscape archives, revealing some remarkable material on Brussels’ theatres and other performing arts venues, whether indoors or in the open air. Original drawings, models, period photographs and even fragments of buildings will provide invaluable testimony regarding these indoor or outdoor meeting places, highlighting the ways their designers came up with to foster a sense of shared experience, community and even travel!
Sat. & Sun., 11:00 to 14:30
Rue de l’Ermitage/Kluisstraat 55, Ixelles/Elsene
Guided tours and by reservation only
Accessible with assistance