“A project is like a Netflix series: after season seven, everyone’s glad it’s over.” Quite a strong quote, don’t you think? It all makes sense though. Anthony Morabito gave me a tour through Studio Citygate. What’s that you’re wondering? Well, let me shed some light on it.
Somewhere behind the Brussels Midi train station – in Anderlecht to be more precise – a new building project is getting started. Citygate, as it’s called, is supposed to take the neighbourhood one step further towards being put on the map. Old buildings were thorn apart to leave space for new ones. On the border of the site stands an old textile and medical equipment factory. This one was temporarily saved from destruction and now serves as the background for a whole new cultural hub.
Why temporarily? Well, the company who takes care of the project – Entrakt – tries to upgrade empty buildings in-between projects. Studio Citygate will probably be destroyed once the rest of the Citygate site is finished, but in the meantime (probably for about five years) at least it’s not just being useless. I asked Anthony whether or not he thinks that’s a shame. “Five years sounds short, but actually a lot can change in that time. Plus, with a project, it’s like with a Netflix series. During the first season, just a few well-informed people know it. Season three is usually the best one and after that it just goes to hell. After season seven, everyone’s glad it’s over.”
Anthony takes me through the different levels of the building. No less than 22000 square meters have to be repainted, rebuild, cleaned, given purpose… “This is where the restaurant will be”, he says while pointing at a kinda shabby yet well-lit spot in the corner of the ground floor. A shop, office spaces, artist ateliers, a skate park – name it and it will probably be here. At the moment the ateliers are already being rented out and a Brazilian cultural venue is set up on the first floor.
Sure, some inspiration is needed while visiting the place. The cave will host about ten recording studios in a couple of weeks, but at the moment it’s just a plain old cave with some intersections. Red velvet carpets and squeaky white walls should soon be in place. “I think we’ll ask everyone to take off their shoes and wear some of those hotel slippers.” That immediately calls for some on-site spa instalment, but that’s probably not going to happen. At least I tried.
The venue really offers a lot of possibilities. There’s even an immense backyard, ready to host all kinds of events. From theater to weddings to university proms. A cute little bunny (by Bue the Warrior) keeps an eye on everyone and everything, while a city garden is taking form just next to it.
That’s not the only outdoors area though. My favourite part of the building? Without a doubt the rooftop terrace. Sure, at the moment it’s pretty plain, but just imagine soaking up that view while lying under a parasol on a comfy sunbed. With a mojito in hand. As far as city terraces go, that’s worth to be labeled as #lifegoals if you ask me. I’m already impatiently waiting for the cafe to open, as it’s not that far from my own little place.
Let’s get down to the facts though. What’s happening right now? Last Friday, there actually was a university prom. At the end of April, a food truck festival will be held in the main hall. There’s a call for artists right now and one for restaurant owners in the very near future. And during summer everything will hopefully be more or less fully working. It’s all a bit vague, I know, but just keep an eye on their website or Instagram to keep updated. Maybe we’ll see each other on the rooftop? If you already want to get a bit inspired, there’s also a radio station!
Rue des Goujons 152