Disturbed City

Mattia Casalegno & Michael Langeder

Brussels has a long tradition of radical urban and spatial interventions within the city centre. The connection between the North- and South Trainstation marks one of the biggest interruptions in the cities grown structure. Numerous leftover-places along this trajectory become the target of a series of site specific light interventions, treating them as "disturbed" architectural nonuments.


"For more than a century, the very centre of Brussels has been the concrete subject (and victim according to many) of radical architectural and urban speculations. Regardless of the success or failure of these grand projects, we cannot negate the concrete impact of a bold believe in modernity and progress in the city of Brussels. Among the many speculations and built ideas the "Junction Nord-Midi" can rightly be named the project of the century. The construction of the underground connection between the former northern and southern terminal railway stations through the historical pentagon is the project that best symbolizes the early ambitions of Belgium as a nation-state. The supposedly "derelict" medieval quarters on the trajectory have been demolished to allow a dramatic modernization of the city centre". - Brussels — a Manifesto

Rail Movie

The North-South-Connection is not only a half healed scar in the city structure but also opens up a corridor in a dense pattern of built matter. The purpose of connecting produces an inverted, poached space. This newly introduced corridor opens up views on unfamiliar territories and at the same time generates a no-men land, a death zone of iron stripes through the core of the city. The train—the perfect implementation of a rational utopia, as Michel de Certeau states, offers the immobility of an order system on its inside.

Here there is silence and one dreams. There is nothing to do, one finds himself in the state of reason, and consumes a speculative (passing) version of the world. The window allows to see and the tracks permit a transit.

Leaving Brussels South Station one first crosses the inner ring of the city, before closely passing the back sides of the surrounding buildings. An unusual image of the city. A Bricolage of backyards, cut buildings and graffiti paintings on the border of the railway tracks produce a moving picture of a time-wrought city. The results of a radical urban project smash from both sides in the same way on the tourist and the daily commuter. After passing the barely used Station Kapellekerk one dives into a deep black hole and arrives at the subterrainean heart of the city - the Central Station. Built through Viktor Horta in this underground part the real beauty of the art nouveau comes to the surface; traveling further you will reache Congresstation and then the daylight again between the office towers of the north quarter. A simple connection between two points generates a rollercoaster of urban diversity with the North Station as the final destination of a virtual travel.