Flagey Square as it appears today
|Location||Ixelles, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium|
Eugène Flagey Square (French: Place Eugène Flagey, Dutch: Eugène Flageyplein, usually shortened to Flagey Square, or Flagey by locals), is a square in the Brussels municipality of Ixelles, Belgium. With ten streets converging there, it is one of the best connected crossroads in the city, directly adjacent to the neighbouring Ixelles Ponds (the street separating them now will disappear). A large flood control reservoir (necessary due to the low-lying terrain and high groundwater level) and a parking lot have been built under the square.
The area comprising Flagey Square was covered by the Ixelles Ponds until 1860 when one of the original ponds was drained as part of new urban design. Originally known as the Place Sainte-Croix/Heilig Kruisplein (limited today to the front of the Church of the Holy Cross (French: Église Sainte-Croix, Dutch: Heilig-Kruiskerk) on the edge of the ponds), it was renamed in 1937 by Eugène Flagey, mayor of Ixelles from 1935 to 1953.
Beginning in 2002, the square was extensively renovated. Prior to the renovation, it had been primarily used as an open air parking lot. The project was infamously delayed many times and all activity had to grind to a halt for sometimes months on end. The plans were remade in 2004, partially on the demand of the local residents' association. Among their demands were the complete elimination of above ground parking in the square. The original plan was not deemed ambitious enough and a new competition was launched for international bids from different architects. Latz&Partner and D + A International eventually won the contract.
Official celebrations for the reopening of Flagey Square took place in July 2008. Events held included fireworks, concerts, guided visits and film screenings. However, at the time of the official opening, the subterranean parking which was built below the square was not opened. The risk of flooding as well as other structural problems forced authorities to keep the facility closed. The parking finally opened on 15 November 2010.
Flagey Square is famous for:
- the Art Deco building occupying its entire southern side, the former Maison de la Radio, renamed to Le Flagey in 2002. It now hosts a cultural center. Its Studio 4 is one of the concert halls with the best acoustics worldwide, home to the Brussels Philharmonic. It is also used as a recording studio; the award-winning soundtrack of the movie The Artist was recorded there.
- the building on the opposite side of the square to Le Flagey, which houses the first supermarket ever opened in Belgium (on 18 December 1957), a Delhaize
- the Monument dedicated to the novelist Charles De Coster, dating from 1894, by the sculptor Charles Samuel and the architect Frans de Vestel, on the Ixelles Ponds' side
- the Frit Flagey friterie, serving chips cooked the traditional Belgian way, reputed to be among the best in Brussels
Flagey Square is served by several STIB/MIVB lines: tram line 81 and bus lines 38, 59, 60 and 71, as well as TEC Walloon Brabant bus line 366. The square also hosts a Villo! shared bicycle station, as well as shared car stations (Cambio and Zen Car).
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- "Dossier:Le renouveau de Flagey" (in French). La Tribune de Bruxelles.
- "La Place Flagey libérée le 5 juillet" (in French). Le Soir. 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
- "Festival d'ouverture du 5 au 12 juillet" (in French). La Libre Belgique. 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
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- "Brussels, Belgium: in search of the perfect frite". The Telegraph. September 2012. Retrieved 2013-12-10.