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Place Rogier's forgotten Pyramid Hall to get new lease of life

Illustration picture shows the Rogier square 'Place Rogier - Rogierplein' in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode - Sint-Joost-ten-Node in Brussels region, Wednesday 26 August 2020. BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE
06:48 03/06/2022

After 13 years of being left vacant, the 'pyramid hall' under Place Charles Rogier in Brussels is to be used as a temporary exhibition space, Bruzz reports.

The municipality of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, in which the square is located, has announced that the hall will be made available free of charge for a year to a company that organises exhibitions. During or just after the summer, the dinosaur exhibition Dinos Alive will be the first to be housed there. Emir Kir, the mayor of Saint Josse, said that this will be "a temporary project in anticipation of the more definitive implementation."

The 'pyramid hall' – named after the pyramidal entrance above ground which was demolished during the redevelopment of the square - is accessible via the underground Rogier metro station. It was often used for weddings, but also a book fair and even an erotica festival took place there before it was abandoned. The hall has been languishing empty since 2009.

But that is all about to change. The commercial company Exhibition Hub has signed an agreement with the municipality of Saint-Josse to organise exhibitions there. First guests are the 80 giant dinosaurs of Dinos Alive, an exhibition that, according to the municipality, has already attracted more than 210,000 visitors around the world and was a huge hit at Tour & Taxis in Brussels in 2021. Exactly when the exhibition would start is not yet clear. July or September have been mentioned as possible starting dates depending on the number of permits and meetings needed to finalise arrangements.

Exhibition Hub, also known in Brussels for its 'immersive exhibitions' of Gustav Klimt and Frida Kahlo, will have free use of the hall. In exchange, it must be responsible for the work and permits to make the room ready for use. In return, children and young people from Saint-Josse can also enter for free, and adult residents will be able to benefit from a reduced, yet to be determined, rate.

"The works they will carry out on the hall will afterwards also be useful for the municipality's project to create party and conference rooms in the space under Place Rogier," said mayor Emir Kir.

"This is a step in the right direction," said Frédéric Roekens, a Saint Josse councillor. "The hall is in a deplorable state and requires a structural renovation."

The question is what will happen to the hall after the first exhibition. "The agreement makes it possible to tacitly extend the agreement, and that is what I expect to happen," said Roekens. "This company is not going to incur so many costs for just one year. Moreover, the municipal finances – there is still no budget for this year, last year we already went €10 million in the red – will not be so rosy that the municipality itself can carry out renovations to the hall."

However, Kir reiterated that the first exhibition will be a temporary one, with the one-year agreement on offer. "We have been planning for some time to create party and conference rooms in the space,” he said. “But due to covid, we had other priorities and that plan has shifted a bit to the background."

"However, we are launching a study this year. Our budget will be voted on next month, and by the end of the year, that project should be able to start."