The ‘Gare Maritime’, a former warehouse built in the early 20th century, is located on the site of Tour & Taxis in Brussels. It covers an area of 40,000 m ² (276 m x 138 m) and reaches a maximum height of 23 m. The load bearing structure consists largely of three-hinged frames, made of riveted metallic trusses, covering a 26 m span. The structure is being renovated and reinforced where necessary, and the ‘ skin ‘ is renewed; as to update the structures to contemporary standards. The entire wooden structure was the subject of an expert assessment following the damage observed and a monitoring system was set up to check the drying process.
The structure is overall in good condition, with the exception of some damaged and corroded elements in the rear façade and under the gutters. The renovation of the structure also encompasses the installation of solar panels and roof isolation in order to minimize the environmental impact of the new project. The interior is reorganized using several multilevel volumes of high energetic performance, intended for retail and offices, covering a total surface area of 45 000m2. The structure of these interior volumes is made of wood. The cores are made of cross laminated timber (CLT), and completed by a structure of beams-columns and ribbed floors. With a total of 9000m³ of structural timber, the project is one of the largest achievements in timber structure in Europe. The project was modelled in 3D and co-ordinated with the existing structure, architecture and special techniques using BIM. All timber elements are prefabricated and custom machined before on-site assembly. The screwed collaborative floors contributes to the demountability and therefore the circular character of the structure.