BKP Canal: Senne Valorization

Views of the different scenarios

ORG, together with Bureau Bas Smets (TV ORG-BBS), studied several possibilities of valorizing the river Senne in the Brussels Capital Region. Those feasibility studies aim to help to realize one of the ambitions of the Beeldkwaliteitsplan (BKP): recreating the legibility of the river Senne in the urban landscape.

Typologies of intervention to valorize the Senne

The BKP proposes 4 typologies of interventions, answering to the different contexts the Senne runs through. The Eco parks are areas where the Senne runs open-air. Mostly situated in less urban areas at the south and north of the Region, they aim to recreate a river-like landscape and focus on the development of biodiversity and the improvement of the quality of the water. The process of enhancing those sections of the river is well underway. In the city center, however, the Senne is mostly underground and invisible in the urban landscape.

ORG-BBS investigated the possibility of developing 2 specific typologies:

First, linear parks whose narrow and sinuous trajectories copy the historical bedding of the river in the city. Aimed at recreating a green continuity in very dense urban environments and offering local amenities and respiration, they develop a specific landscape reminiscent of the river environment (pioneer trees, integrated and local water management, etc.). The Parc de la Senne in the Masui neighborhood is a perfect example of this typology.

We investigated the feasibility of developing the same type of intervention in the Heyvaert neighborhood, connecting the Abattoirs to the Parc de Ninove. Already a long-standing complex project, we developed for Bruxelles Environnement a roadmap on how to implement the project, taking into account the different risks involved and proposing alternatives to guarantee a successful operationalization. Since the project will be implemented in several phases, we also develop a set of common principles and recommendations for the different sections to guarantee the long-term coherence of the whole. Thanks to those guarantees, Bruxelles Environnement was able to launch design studies for the first phases of the park.

Secondly, ORG-BBS, with Bollinger + Grohmann, investigated the possibility of creating punctual openings to the underground tunnels of the Senne, allowing air and light to reach the river, improving its quality, and creating a qualitative relationship with the public spaces on top.

Different opening devices were investigated, both in their technical feasibility and cost and in the benefits and qualities they could bring both to the Senne or to the public spaces.

A case study was developed for the Boulevard Pointcaré for which different scenarios were developed and evaluated. They all propose the implementation of different opening devices to the underground Senne, together with a coherent redesign of the public space, used today for parking.

Opening devices

Those different studies realized in the framework of the BKP confirm various opportunities of valorizing the Senne in the Brussels Capital Region and globally enhancing the quality of its public space. Several studies are still ongoing to further study the implementation and development of innovative ways of enjoying the river in the Region.


Brussels, Belgium


2018 -


Yannick Vanhaelen, Valentine Debizet, Nitay Lehrer, Yousra Benasser, Heinrich Altenmueller


Brussels Environnement

Mission ORG

Feasibility studies


Public Space


Bollinger + Grohmann, Bureau Bas Smets