CDC / Charleroi Congress Palace


Charleroi is a growing city, and its growth is strategic, intentional and intelligent. The peak of this progression is a cultural, political and commercial Acropolis: the Palaces.

With a clear vision, we see the relationship between Charleroi’s Palace of beaux-Arts, the Palace of Exhibitions and the Palace of Congress as coherent, clear and efficient.

Unlike the typical image of an acropolis that is detached from its citizens, we imagine a space of exchange, of encounter, and of openness. A place of potentials rather than a place of pretention. 

The Palace of Congress is the Agora of Charleroi: it will host large political, commercial and societal encounters. It will accommodate a great variety of activities, requiring programmatic and functional flexibility. Our project is grounded in this idea of programmatic multiplicity, based on what we know about present needs and potential futures.

The project is inspired by the tension between rationality and dynamism, between the geometric structure of Charleroi’s urban road system and the nucleic city, which developed in a more organic manner, determined by topographic constraints. The design highlights this difference of organisation systems and gives it a functional purpose. The juxtaposition of the dynamic and the rational is part of the identity of Charleroi and the project will serve as an iconic figure, visible from the ring road and from the main square.

The project is conceived as an urban landscape enclosed within a permeable structural grid of columns. It provides a dynamic new public space which creates continuity between the existing Palaces of Exhibition and of the Beaux-Arts and the central square.