Spectacle Catalogue

Cite Admin - 2006

Still from Cite Admin


14 minute english subtitled version of Cité Administrative about the Cité Administrative area of Brussels and the plans for its re-development.

This film developed out of the Open Workshops run by Spectacle and PTTL at the pleinOpen Air 2004.

With its 6 hectares of concrete and its tower of 140 meters, the ‘Cité Administrative’ is a beautiful example of the way the theories of private architecture were applied to public buildings.

Built in the 1950’s to accommodate 140,000 civil servants: The Cité Administrative was an incarnation, by its scale and its modernity, of the efficiency of the state and civil service. But the federalisation of Belgium put an end to the dreams of centralisation.

This symbol of 'Bruxellisation' destroyed a whole neighbourhood: 700 families were moved out of their houses, entire streets were lost, and the surrounding area never recovered. The complex took 25 years to construct for barely 20 years of occupation and is now obsolete and empty. The site will be empty for at least 3 to 5 years and subject to planning consultation, which will take several years to resolve.

In 2003, the Belgian State sold the Cité Administrative to a Dutch private group, Breevast S.A. (which had acquired the Tower of Finances one year earlier.) In 2004 Breevast S.A. resold half of the site to Dexia and Immobel/C.I.B (Compagnie immobilière de Belgique). In 2005 renovation works began on the Finance Tower.

The Cité Administrative, designated a “ZIR” (Zone of Regional Interest), is a major area of central Brussels and raises several key questions.

Who should be consulted on its future, those who live locally or the residents of Brussels? Will residents have any say in its future or only business interests? Will the Cité Administrative undergo demolition and rebuilding? Will the public spaces be privatised and social housing gentrified? Is this an opportunity to create a

En Français

Avec ses 6 hectares de béton et sa tour de 140 mètres, la Cité administrative est un bel exemple de la manière dont les théories de l'architecture privée ont été appliquées dans l'architecture publique. La Cité devait incarner, par son échelle et sa modernité, l'efficacité de la fonction publique. Mais la fédéralisation de l'Etat a mis un terme aux rêves de centralisation. Par un retour de l'histoire, ce symbole de la modernité ‹ qui a valu 25 ans de chantier à Bruxelles pour à peine 20 ans d'occupation ‹ est aujourd'hui devenu obsolète.

C'est en 2005 que devrait démarrer le chantier de la nouvelle Tour des Finances. Le reste du site, quant à lui, fera l'objet de procédures qui prendront plusieurs années à aboutir. Au final, la Cité subira-t-elle une "démolition-reconstruction"? Tiendra-t-on compte de ses qualités et de son aspect patrimonial? Quel sort sera réservé aux espaces publics? Comment seront traités les aspects sociaux comme le logement, le risque de gentrification? Et quel est donc ce projet de ville appelé "ZIR" (zones d'intérêt régional, comme la Cité) et qui permet de planifier la construction de millions de mètres carrés de bureaux à Bruxelles pour les 20 prochaines années? Ce sont quelques-unes des questions de ce PleinOPENair...

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Producer: PTTL/Spectacle
Production Company: PTTL Video Group
Original Format: colour, mini DV, 14 mins
Language versions: english

Ordering Information

If you would like to order a copy of this video, please select the version you are interested in, from the email links below. You can find out more information about ordering in the distribution section.
Order Catalogue No. CitAd02 - DVD - en - pal via email


Relevant Links

"Who builds Brussels and How?" - information on improvement of the urban governance of Brussels. Some debate sections (in primarily French or Dutch).

"Disturb" (fr only) - An organisation dedicated to promoting debate around architecture and urban planning in Brussels

"City Mine(d) " - a production house for urban interventions. They are involved with the re-appropriation of public spaces and the creation of public artwork.

"MapRac" (fr/nl only) - Site which discusses Cité Administrative and relevent infomation .

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