BRUSK Brugge

Foundation works for new exhibition hall BRUSK in Bruges

Bruges, one of Belgium’s most famous cities of art, lives up to its name: with the construction of a new exhibition hall BRUSK, Bruges wants to put itself on the map as a dynamic and innovative city, in line with the contemporary cultural policy. Foundation expert Soetaert took on the foundation works for this interesting building project.

The Flemish Community and the City of Bruges are jointly investing 44 million euros in the new exhibition hall BRUSK. The opening of this 20,000 m² complex is scheduled for early 2025 and will become a new meeting place for art lovers from all over the world. The exhibition hall will be located on the Garenmarkt site, next to the Groeninge Museum, which will also be subject to a thorough renovation. The makeover should transform the site into a new artistic hub for the city.

On behalf of CIT-Blaton, Soetaert started foundation works in April on this old school complex, in the shadow of Bruges' famous towers. On April 18, 2023, Minister-President of Flanders Jan Jambon and Mayor Dirk De Fauw officially started the works. The latter drilled the first pile into the ground with a Bauer RG 22, after a short but intensive training by Soetaert operator Dirk Cicou.

A challenging project

The historic site makes this construction project not only unique, but also a logistical and structural challenge. Due to the city canal running right through the site, the subsoil is particularly difficult to work on. Moreover, there are many foundations from an old monastery, resulting in associated archaeological finds. On top of that, the central location in the heart of Bruges also presents its challenges. The 100-ton foundation machine, which is more than 21 meters high, had to be driven through a garage door into the site at night with a limited street width of only 14 meters.

In total, Soetaert drilled 200 secant piles of 12 meters and placed 157 foundation piles 15 meters deep inside and outside the construction pit. Following this, another 91 anchors of 15 meters were tensioned. In addition, Soetaert waterproofed the bottom of the construction pit with water glass and carried out 75 drillings around the construction pit for BTES fields for BRUSK and the Groeninge Museum. Finally, the foundation expert also carried out the drainage of the construction pit by means of deep well systems. The various techniques were completed by the time of the construction holidays, so that the main contractor was able to start the construction of BRUSK on time.