Three poles will constitute, at the beginning of 2023, the backbone of the project.
This community center, hub and melting pot of energies demonstrating the vitality of our group, is intended to house:
- The offices and headquarters of multiple associations and to offer its services to non-resident initiatives and to passing users in coworking mode.
Two multipurpose spaces for cultural, educational or socialization events:
- A coffee area and small restaurant
- A health center or MACS (Maison Arc-en-Ciel de la Santé)
This project is carried out by a group of associations from the LGBTQIA+ movement in Brussels, including a hard core that has been working together for many years, in particularly on health promotion and socio-cultural projects: Ex Aequo, Genres Pluriels, Tels Quel as well as the RainbowHouse, the federation of LGBTQI associations in the Brussels Capital region. Coalition PLUS, a network of community associations in the fight against HIV present in 52 countries, will continue to share the premises of Ex Aequo in this new building complex. The project is part of a temporary occupation following a call for projects designed by the Régie Foncière de la Ville de Bruxelles, owner of the place steeped in history and located in the heart of the Saint-Jacques district. The space has a useful area of 1800 m2.
1. The project considers the creation of an inter-association LGBTQI community center, a facility of collective interest and public service. It aims to communicate in a lasting way, for the inhabitants of Brussels but also its visitors, that Brussels, the second cosmopolitan capital of the world according to certain classifications, is a city which lives happily, cherishes and celebrates its diversity.
It places the LGBTQI community at the center of the system in a clear and methodical desire to be the actor and vehicle of a rapprochement with the other communities that make up the fabric of our city.
The first multi-purpose space, the largest, is dedicated to rewarding activities and exploring the multiplicity of expressions of identity and gender and its artistic manifestations, in particular those stemming from of the LGBTQI collective. It can host exhibitions, cultural activities, conferences.
The second multi-purpose space, which can be divided as desired, is intended to accommodate well-being activities and discussion groups, workshops, formation.
2. The creation of a Maison Arc en Ciel de la Santé (MACS) just a stone's throw from the rue Marché au charbon in the Saint-Jacques district, gives the City of Brussels the opportunity to mark its presence Commitment to the health and well-being of LGBTQI populations. It also participates in and contributes to a European trend that is beginning to create institutionalized systems that “LGBTQI health” is understood as the need to respond to the specific health characteristics of these audiences.
3. The café : Serves as a focal point bringing together the public from Brussels and passing visitors, LGBTQI and others. It participates in the enhancement of the façade vis-à-vis the public space, as does the courtyard, also open to the public, which can accommodate a terrace.
During the elapsed period. This activity which makes it possible to create flow in the structure also activates the latter in relation to the district, both for the inhabitants of the district and for tourists. It is the object of a doubly hybrid exploitation: commercial with a social aim in its management (cooperative enterprise, or ▪ promoting professional insertion...) to allow its viability economical but also allowing associations to organize activities in distinct and predefined time slots (weekly association meals, evenings for certain audiences, etc.).
The entire layout (café, courtyard, multipurpose rooms, exhibition space, meeting room, etc.) is also suitable for holding conference or training type events such as for example, raising awareness of the realities and needs of LGBTQIA+ people, such as administrative personnel, etc Finally, the project includes an extension zone estimated at 10% in order to accommodate possible changes in allocation during the projects.
The developments are planned in three phases
The first phase is about creating the associative hub (2nd semester of 2022). It can only begin once the safety standards have been completed (electrical and gas installations). First of all, there will be a quick “refreshment” of the two apartments in the south building in order to allow two of the partner associations to move in quickly.
Ex Aequo will continue its medical services/screening and psychological support activity in this building. As well as Genres Pluriels for all that concerns transidentities and intersexualities.
This first phase also includes the renovation of the two floors of the western body (in particular their insulation) assigned to offices and meeting rooms. This last should allow the relocation of the other associations by project stakeholders in early 2023. The courtyard located under the east wing must be able to accommodate a bar activity and small restaurants (of the “pop-up” type) not requiring heavy investment from the summer entrance to the premises with launch during the Pride.
In a second phase, optional, and depending on the support obtained for this specific project and the obtaining of a HORECA allocation, it is envisaged to develop the ground floor in a more sustainable way-floor with storage in the cellar and installation of a "food and drink" in the first room of the west body, adjoining the south body. The multi-purpose rooms will also be put into service and will be able to accommodate training activies (Administration, medical personnel, organizations, etc.) and various cultural events.
A third phase (second half of 2023) dependent on financial ressources will concerns the development and equipment of the multipurpose rooms and the rainbow house.
Improving the circulation and fluidity of the place, as well as the reception capacity. Facilities for the MACS and facilities for the psychomedical reception. Facilities for events and coworking spaces. The space is an experience that will continue after renovation in 2028 by Régie foncière. At this point, the 1800 square meters of the building will be habitable and operable for the project as a whole.