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See U: Ixelles barracks open up to 50 community projects

19:55 25/04/2019

The Gendarmerie Royale barracks in Ixelles will open up to the public this weekend for the first time since it was built in 1909 – with the launch of See U, the largest temporary use project in Brussels.

The 10-acre site contains 22 buildings for a total of 48,000m² which will ultimately be redeveloped to 600 units of student housing, 200 units of family housing, university infrastructures for VUB and ULB, a sustainable food market, public spaces and open spaces.

In the meantime, taking over 25,000m² of the site, See U has already attracted more than 50 projects that all have as a basis sustainable and social innovation, training and experimentation, to be a welcoming, open to the neighbourhood asset.

Features include a movie theatre, organic market, exhibition spaces, workshops and urban vegetable gardens. Included in the projects is the KomChéTaMère Collective which is a showroom/apartment in which visitors will be able to eat, read a book, see an art show and/or purchase the furniture and furnishings that are all made with recycled and recovered materials.

There is also the Illegaal Brewery, with beer sale profits going to support artistic projects. Le Café-Poussette is a café specifically designed for parents and their young children. The Micro Mobility Centre is the first European information, education, expertise, and furnishing center for micro mobility vehicles.

Other residents include FruitCollect, which harvests otherwise unused fruit from private city gardens and distributes it to people in need, and Zwanger in Brussel - a team of midwives who provide care during pregnancy, during birth and after birth.

This weekend the project is kicking off with a large number of activities. It starts on Saturday evening with the opening of the Kinograph, the new cinema, with a screening of Blind Test Cinema followed by the première of the American film Thunder Road and drinks afterwards.

Sunday starts with a major jumble sale with 100 professional stands and locals’ stands. Meanwhile the more than 50 projects present on the site will show off their talents, their wares and their specialties in the great courtyard of the old barracks. There will be concerts, tastings, exhibitions, films, live painting, children’s workshops, tours, constructions and 3D printing.

The food will be provided by foodtrucks and foodbikes, as well as the tastings by FruitCollect, Rubelli and Konchetamère, and drinks will be available at the bars run by Illegaal, Hors Catégories, Retroapero and Make it Sound.

From noon to 21.00 there will be live concerts, sound systems and DJ sets. At the Kinograph there will be short films for three to six-year olds at 15.00 followed by a screening of Duelles which opens this week. For a complete run down check

Written by Richard Harris