Rue de Laeken ~ Rue du Pont Neuf was a multi-phase, multi facetted, urban renewal project of a derelict downtown city block. A sad place in 1989 became a thriving work place and home for many by 1995. A true asset to the neighborhood.

Joanna played multiple roles during the six year of this project. She was the urban designer for the city block and design architect for the 18,000m2 office building.  With the Foundation for Architecture, Joanna organized the architectural competition that selected the seven young architects who designed the rue de Laeken town houses. Joanna was the design consultant, project co-ordination and the owner/developer’s representative. She welcomed international dignitaries including the Prince of Wales, who visited the project during construction and once again when it was completed.

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Derelict city block
Original Pont Neuf street corner
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Demolished tower in 1991
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Interior court & office building facade

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New buildings along Rue De Laeken

G. Tagliaventi atlier 55


AG office building by Joanna Alimanestianu

Street Detail

Presenting the project to the Prince of Wales

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Joanna’s Vision

In the 70’s and 80’s architects were proposing mega-blocks for this city block. Fortunately, the owner/developer had a different vision and so did Joanna. She believed in contextual design based on successful precedents. She understood how and why this area was once a desirable part of downtown Brussels. She also understood the needs and wishes of modern day people.


A 1960s metal and glass 9-story tour demolished.  Traditional lot sizes were reinstated. Local sense of place was achieved with authentic traditional proportions, details, and construction.


Joanna’s Determination for Quality

Through the competition for Young European Architects, 7 architectural firms from France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and Belgium each designed townhouses. So successful were the designs that all residences were rented within days of completion.


On the other side of the block to replace the demolished tower, Joanna designed a contextual, horizontal 5-story building.

For the interior of the block, Joanna chose a world known landscape designer, Dan Kiley, to design the central garden. It was flourishing by the time people moved into homes and offices around it.


Rue de Laeken ~ Rue du Pont Neuf was a first of its kind. It was nationally and internationally published and won many awards. C. Mierop asked the question:


                                                                    Will the reconstruction of the Rue de Laeken start a trend?

The question is already anachronistic: other projects, other sites, in Brussels and in other European cities, are already, each in their own way, building on the experience which was here attempted for the first time.


                                                                                      Caroline Mierop


                                                                                                       lecturer at La Cambre Advanced Institue of Architecture, Brussels. 

                                                                                                                                   Administrator of the Foundation pour L'Architecture.

                                                                                                                                         Competition organizer and operations supervisor. 

                                                                                                                                                                                        Brussels, January 1995