History

The Hospices Administration, predecessor to the CPAS of Brussels, is at the start of the construction of the orphanage for young girls which existed from 1873 to 1978 on the land situated between avenue de Cortenbergh, rue du Noyer, rue des Patriotes, place des Gueux and rue Newton.

It is only in 1951 that the orphanage was named Juliette Herman home. She was a teacher and also a resistant during World War II who died while on deportation in 1945. To pay tribute to her, her name was given to the orphanage for young girls where she had been a boarder from age 12, at the passing of her parents.

The name of Juliette Herman was thereafter given to the new home, rue Medori in Laeken and to the former garden of the orphanage which became a public park.

After the abandonment of the orphanage, several projects came about for the building. They concerned a nursery for the EU institutions, an Islamic culture museum, and an extension to the Royal Military School.

After the projects failed, there were two others, to install the school of architecture of La Cambre, but the board of directors rejected it, and in 1984, a plan for housing, offices and shops. No promotor was interested. The plan to install housing aimed to integrate the existing building within the neighbourhood development plan (35 duplex and nearly 20 apartments).

In 1985, four projects will be examined at the City of Brussels.

  1. Jacques Delens contractor’s plan for the common market’s Italian delegation was abandoned;
  1. Codic Company envisages to demolish the building and to rebuild it with similar fronts
  1. Imbelco Company envisages a demolition and a modern reconstruction
  1. The armed forces come again with a plan to preserve the building

The Concertation Commission wishes the garden to become a public park. Codic and Imbelco take account thereof. Delens is not sure and the army wants to turn it into a parking. Only the Codic and defence projects remain. The army offers 45 million BEF and codic 60 million BEF.

On 6 December 1985, Codic obtains its building permit.

The Concertation Commission having criticized the project, Codic filed a new project for a very modern reconstruction, no higher than the orphanage. Green light was given for offices and as compensation, the large garden was to be classified as ‘green zone’ and open to the public.

An indoor courtyard is also planned as previously. The plan raised controversy. Because of the motorway on the Cortenbergh side, a pedestrian way is foreseen in the form of a gallery. The building is completed by 1987. The IBM pension fund will occupy the building, followed by the Federal Police. When the latter leaves the building, it will remain unoccupied. The new owner, a powerful real estate promoter, prepares a three tower housing project which after three years preparation is subject to a public inquiry from 27 May to 10 June 2016.