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Charleroi Police Tower

Location Charleroi, Belgium
Timeline 2010 - 2014

expansion and renovation of a police station


The city of Charleroi embarked on urban revitalization a few years ago. Since 2014, it has included an emblematic building designed by French architect Jean Nouvel in association with Belgian firm MDW Architecture. The new police station, also known as the "blue tower", is a passive building 75 metres high with 22 floors. Elliptical in shape, its curved façade gradually tapers off with each floor.

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  • CFE
  • Ateliers Jean Nouvel
  • MDW Architecture
  • 2012 MIPIM Awards - Best Futura Project
39200 m²


The tower evolves from an elliptical form on the ground floor to a circle on the top floor, and narrows towards the top, giving every floor different dimensions.

Public charleroi bluetower 1 web

The city of Charleroi is fully engaged in an urban revitalisation, taking on several projects, including a renewed police station. It consists partly of a new building and of renovated barracks. A number of buildings of the barracks were demolished, creating a public square in the city. The remaining wings, which were renovated, do not have the necessary capacity. As such, a third vertical wing completes the picture.

The new tower counts 22 floors, but remains with its 75 metres in proportion to the city's belfry. The elliptical form makes for a harmonious embedding in the environment. The tower houses the main entrance, and predominantly offices that have a modular layout. It also contains a sports centre, a library and classes. The upper floor contains a large meeting room with a panoramic view on the city. The detention part has been situated underground, together with 3 parking layers. The renovated layers also house offices, as well as cloakrooms and a cafeteria.

These new police facilities, a new landmark in Charleroi, posed quite some challenges. First of all, it changes shape, evolving from an elliptical form on the ground floor to a circle on the top floor. As the tower narrows towards the top, every floor has different dimensions. This special design resulted in a choice for prefabrication, even if dimensions differed per floor, because of the tolerance and precision demanded. Although the architects proposed a perforated concrete skin, as was used for the Torre Agbar in Barcelona, prefabrication proved to be a far simpler solution, faster and better for the budget.

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