Home Art magazine Get us more about the CIVA (International Centre for the City and the Architecture) in Brussels

In Brussels - Capital Region, Fondation Kanal and Centre Pompidou have signed in December 2017 the convention regarding the partnership aimed at creating a new multidisciplinary and cultural centre in the old Citroën Garage, in Place de l’Yser in Brussels. 

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The convention has a stipulated duration of 10 years. The new centre will host a museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the CIVA, (International Centre for the City and the Architecture), and different polyvalent public spaces where interdisciplinarity, pedagogical activities, and lounges will be mixed. The aim of the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum is to create a path through the history of 20th and 21st-century art. The permanent collections and temporary exhibitions (two per year) will be conceived from the Centre Pompidou’s collections and with the help of its expertise. 

Centre Pompidou will also advise and assist the new cultural centre in the acquisition strategy of the permanent collections. The Parisian museum, possessing almost 2000 artworks by Belgian artists, is already strongly linked to Brussels and Belgium. The clear purpose of this partnership is to give an impulse to the new Belgian project thanks to the know-how of the Centre Pompidou, with the ultimate intention of achieving a complete autonomy.  


Modern and Contemporary Art, CIVA (International Centre for the City and the Architecture), Brussels, rendering.
Modern and Contemporary Art, CIVA (International Centre for the City and the Architecture), Brussels, rendering. 


The restoration of the Citroën Center will start in autumn 2019 and, while waiting for the official opening, a cultural program of prefiguration has opened to the public on the 5th of May 2018 and will last until the end of June 2019, in the garage “brut”.

The prefiguration program has been proposed by Bernard Blistène, director of the French National Museum of Modern Art. During the prefiguration year, many works from artists living in Brussels will be commissioned in order to create a collection for the future Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Brussels’ artists and cultural associations will be continuously involved with the scope of amplifying the cultural dynamics of the city

The garage is a symbol of Brussels’ industrial architecture of the 1930s and incorporates also the memory of a history marked by labour. Therefore, the prefiguration program is built around these two essential aspects. Various exhibitions are placed in every zone of the building, offering to the visitors a cultural path and a promenade at the heart of the extraordinary edifice. The aesthetic qualities of the building are enhanced by the presence of works of great dimensions such as the Maison tropicale by Jean Prouvé, PAO II by Toyo Ito, Radôme by Buckminster Füller or the Pavillon by Ross Lovegrove (all works preserved in the collections of the Centre Pompidou). 


Modern and Contemporary Art, CIVA (International Centre for the City and the Architecture), Brussels, rendering.
Modern and Contemporary Art, CIVA (International Centre for the City and the Architecture), Brussels, rendering. 


Rudi Vervoort, Minister and President of the Brussels-Capital Region, states:

Before being meant to host this project, this beautiful place, this garage, that astonishes people living in Brussels and visitors because of its dimensions, its amazing and iconic architecture, was neither a museum or a work of art. Nowadays, without any doubt, we can consider it a work of art and one of the realizations of which the government is most proud. Indeed, through this building, we will consolidate the touristic and cultural dynamic of Brussels”. 


With regard to the Centre Pompidou, President Serge Lasvignes affirms:

Being a cultural and multidisciplinary centre of reference, (…) it has represented a new institutional model, fed by the vitality of the crossing of different artistic disciplines. (…) The Pompidou Centre installed for a period of two months in Saudi Arabia, presenting the first international exhibition of Modern and Contemporary Art in the region, constituted a key experience. Our mission of cultural advice is still active today at the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. The Centre Pompidou in Malaga is the first experience of temporary establishment meant at exchanging with the Spanish cultural scene and valorising our know-how. At the moment a project of establishment of the Centre Pompidou in Shanghai is going on. We have the ambition of imagining other collaborations in new artistic scenes in the future, always within the complicity of the actors already present in the area as we are currently doing in Brussels”.



Modern and Contemporary Art, CIVA (International Centre for the City and the Architecture), Brussels, rendering.
Modern and Contemporary Art, CIVA (International Centre for the City and the Architecture), Brussels, rendering. 


The Brussels-Capital Region has decided to buy the old Citroën garage, built in 1934 by the French architect Maurice-Jacques Ravazé, in collaboration with architects from Brussels, such as Alexis Dumont and Marcel Van Goethem, in view of a great cultural project. Openness, transparency, flexibility, horizontality, functionality, and light are all integral parts of the conception of the building, the biggest garage in Europe. The garage resembles a cathedral made of glass, steel, and concrete and is a perfect reflection of the modernist spirit of the time. The history of the garage is strictly linked to France since it is the last opening commisioned by André Citroën in person. 

The Citroën Garage is situated at the crossing between Place de l’Yser and Quai de Willebroeck and benefits of an exceptional view and proximity with the Canal and the historic centre. After the works of reconstruction, the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum will expand on a surface of 15.000 m2, whereas the CIVA and the interdisciplinary public spaces will both occupy 10.000 m2. 


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