Médiacité Liège The rebirth of an old industrial district The Longdoz steel factory in the centre of Liège has been closed for decades and has since become a large industrial wasteland. In this quietly decaying district, “Mediacité` is being created. Situated on the Meuse River and easily accessible, this site deserves a second chance and contributes to the rejuvenation of the whole city. Médiacité is located not far from the old city centre of Liège on the site of the old Longdoz steel rolling mill, in a district that for many years stooped under the presence of old industry. Médiacité is intended to revitalise the district by integrating itself into the urban fabric. This is a large project covering 6.5 hectares, including space for shops, a cinema, an Olympic ice skating rink and the new buildings of the public broadcasting company RTBF. In this way a completely new district – good for 160,000 m² of economic and cultural activities – will arise out of the old with bold architecture and sustainable technology. The tributary of the River Meuse is close to Médiacité and because of the proximity of the water special techniques will be used for the foundations such as slurry walls and pile reinforcing. More traditional concrete posts and brickwork subsequently lend their colour to the site. This is the preparatory work for what will give the project a touch of originality: an organic structure in the form of a covered passageway that connects one side of the site with the others and will usher visitors to and through the various activities. This architectural axis connects the existing railway station with Médiacité via the future Museum of Contemporary Art that will be located halfway. At the moment, the various locations are geographically separated by the River Meuse and its tributary. This covered passageway weaves its way across the site and creates a covered path that is both organic and flexible. The passageway ends with a monumental awning at the Piazza, a public area alongside the quays. This passageway is adventurous in both its form and the technology it uses and combines architecture with functionality. It is a shining example of strong architecture and technical inventiveness. The stunning form of the “glass` roof of the building is a genuine work of art. A three-dimensional steel structure has been designed in which not one of the steel beams is straight: this 75 tonne weaving “snake` consists of nothing but curves. Furthermore, the roof is not made of conventional glass but ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a derivative of Teflon (foiltec). This material offers better transparency and in particular more pliability than glass. ETFE is also lighter, insulates better, is self-cleaning, recyclable and offers more freedom in the design of original buildings. Sustainability is a central aspect of Médiacité. Protection of the environment is an integral part of the complex thanks to leading edge technology such as ventilation with heat recuperation, free-cooling, night-cooling, a cold water circuit with a heat pump, condensation wall boilers, high efficiency lighting and the production of green power thanks to 8,000 m² of photovoltaic solar panels. Through these techniques the emissions of greenhouse gases are limited and energy savings of 60 to 80% are realised. Médiacité is the first project in Belgium that will be awarded BREEAM certification, the international reference standard that includes consideration of the impact of the building on the environment throughout the whole of its lifetime. Médiacité covers an area of 6.5 hectares, good for 160,000 m² of economic and cultural activities. In real terms, Médiacité is constructed around two components: a media centre and next to that a commerce and recreation centre. The media centre provides a focal point for all those involved in the audiovisual sector in Liège and Wallonia. 35,000 m² have been set aside for a reception, offices and studios. The French-language public broadcasting company RTBF has acquired part of the site alongside the quays for its new production site, intended for fiction and entertainment. Hence the name “Médiacité` (media city). The old Longdoz centre will be incorporated into a new commerce centre. Scattered over 58,000 m² will be 145 shops. Another major attraction will be the recreation centre which includes a 7,500 m² Olympic ice skating rink housed in an igloo. In addition these will be a cinema complex with eight theatres, a bowling rink, fitness centre, cafés and restaurants. In the car park, approximately 2,350 parking places will be provided on three underground floor levels. Its own bus station will be serviced by 200 buses every day. Thanks to the variety of its activities, Médiacité will be a magnet for all sorts of people. It will be one of the largest multifunctional centres in Belgium. Médiacité will offer employment to 1,200 people and it is expected that Médiacité will attract 6 to 8 million visitors per year.