The Barracks



In 1909, the Ixelles gendarmerie barracks completed a set of military infrastructures extending over Etterbek and Ixelles and including the tank barracks (arsenal-1901), the artillery barracks (Rolin-1877-1883, demolished in 1993) the cavalry barracks (Géruzet and de Witte de Haelen-1875-1882), the Manoeuvring Area (now occupied by the VUB and the ULB), the military station (1906-partially demolished) and, a little further on, the military hospital (1882-1888-mostly demolished in 2002).


It was primarily dedicated to the training of gendarmes. It housed not only the troop's accommodation, a large mess hall and stables, but also classrooms, a library and a show jumping track for the training of riders.


After the Second World War, the development of the gendarmerie's missions and the increase in the means at its disposal necessitated the construction of new buildings: in particular, the headquarters (1947) on the Avenue de la Couronne and the Computer Processing Centre (1975) on Rue Fritz Toussaint, which was flanked in the 1990s by a communications tower.


As these extensions were insufficient, the gendarmerie expanded outside its walls and took up residence in a converted former rest home (corner of Fritz Toussaint and Juliette Wytsman Streets) and in the two cavalry barracks (on the territory of Etterbeek).


Since the abolition of the gendarmerie corps in 2000, the buildings have housed See U, an ecosystem that brings together more than 100 project leaders. Before giving way to Usquare, a Brussels district that is both urban and academic, international, innovative and sustainable.


Large mobile legion. In the background, riding school of the former Royal Gendarmerie School of Ixelles, 1927, Archives of the Integrated Police Museum.



The gendarmerie school originally consisted of a main building fronting on Boulevard Général Jacques, flanked by two corner pavilions (the officers' pavilion at the corner of Avenue de la Couronne and the non-commissioned officers' mess at the corner of Rue Juliette Wytsman). In the interior of the block are the accommodation blocks, the gendarmes' mess and the riding school. On the corner of Avenue de la Couronne and Rue Fritz Toussaint there is a building for the bride and groom. The veterinary infirmary, the gymnasium, the laundry, etc. are located along Rue Juliette Wytsman. The whole complex is surrounded by an imposing boundary wall.




Buildings fronting on the Boulevard Général Jacques, with two storeys under a mansard roof, the attic and the terrace being pierced by numerous dormer windows under pavilion roofs and finials. On a base of blue stone with rusticated rustications, the facades are made of red bricks with abundant blue stone stripes. Low-arched windows on the ground floor, rectangular windows on the first floor. Windows on the ground floor of the main building and the NCOs' mess are grilled. Stone cornices.
Main building of ten - seven bays, the three central and two extreme bays with a projecting, pavilion roof. The three central bays are one storey higher, with paired windows in twos and threes. The entrance bay is entirely clad in stone and surmounted by a pediment interrupted by a dormer window under the pediment. The two end bays are topped by an interrupted pedimented dormer. Most of the joinery has been preserved.
Boulevard Général Jacques 210, former Royal Gendarmerie School of Ixelles, officers' pavilion (photo 2013)


Pavilion officersThe two main buildings, the "Mess des Sous-Officiaires" at the corner of Avenue de la Couronne and the "Mess des Sous-Officiaires" at the corner of Rue Juliette Wytsman, each have twelve bays (eight towards the boulevard, four towards the avenue/street). Towards the boulevard, the two central bays are recessed and surmounted by a pediment interrupted by a dormer window under a frieze. Towards the avenue/street, the access bay/first bay (the access to the NCOs' mess being in the interior of the block) is one level higher, in a recess, with staggered levels and a pavilion roof. Door and sash replaced.


The bride and groom's lodge and the veterinary infirmary have similar elevations to the main buildings, although the infirmary is in a poor state of preservation.


In the interior of the block, the original buildings each have eleven bays on two or three levels, under a gable roof with dormer windows. The end bays and entrance bays are taller and have pavilion roofs.


In the centre, the carousel is a single-storey building with a gable roof. The main facade, framed by pilasters under cushioning, is pierced by two levels of bays: one with a raised arch, the other with a semi-circular arch.

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