On 18 December 2017, the Centre Pompidou signed a structural partnership agreement for a period of ten years with the Brussels-Capital Region and the KANAL Foundation. The agreement paved the way for the creation of a new multi-discipline cultural centre, "KANAL-Centre Pompidou", in the former Citroën garage on the Place de l'Yser in Brussels.
The opening of this major multi-discipline cultural centre fully expresses the DNA of the Centre Pompidou, and constitutes a veritable urban project to promote, reinvigorate and revitalize the Brussels region.
The Centre Pompidou will provide works from its collections in order to present a permanent tour and two annual exhibitions designed by the curators of the Musée national d'art moderne. It will also act as a consultant and assistant for the acquisition strategy of the permanent collections. In bringing its expertise to bear it will exploit all the skills of its teams: multi-discipline cultural programming, production, architecture, mediation and public development, publishing and communication.
On Friday 4 May 2018, Françoise Nyssen, Minister for Culture, Rudi Vervoort, President-Minister of the Brussels Region, Michèle Sioen, President of the KANAL Foundation, Serge Lasvignes, President of the Centre Pompidou, and Bernard Blistène, Director of the Musée national d'art moderne, were present for the inauguration of KANAL-Centre Pompidou.
The architecture project by noAarchitecten (Brussels), EM2N (Zurich) and Sergison Bates architects (London) for the conversion of this iconic site was chosen unanimously by the selection jury, which included the president of the Centre Pompidou, which met from 11-13 March 2018 with Swiss architect Roger Diener as chairman.
The works scheduled to begin in the autumn of 2019 should be completed by 2023.
While waiting for the site to open, a prefiguration cultural programme curated by Bernard Blistène, Director of the Musée national d'art moderne, has enabled the public to discover an exceptional architectural heritage that is steeped in history and preserved in its raw state.
Benefiting from the wealth of the Centre Pompidou collections, the former garage is being transformed into a platform that is open to different interpretations of the issues facing the museum of tomorrow, hosting a programme of intersecting disciplines that is rolled out in the vast spaces recently freed from their former roles. Many proposals endeavour to reflect the identity of the place, but also its human and social history, which is palpable in the workshops, the offices and the different equipment in this vast complex.
A variety of exhibitions presented from May 2018 to June 2019 combined the visual arts, design, architecture, large installations, and creations by local Brussels artists, along with a programme of live performances co-produced for the occasion with many cultural operators in the city.
The success of this presentation led the Kanal Foundation and the Centre Pompidou to envisage leaving the building half-open during the first phase of the conversion works, inviting John M. Armleder to occupy the space in 2020, under the artistic direction of the Centre Pompidou.