Gare Maritime, Brussels

At the request of FPC Risk, a fire safety study was carried out for Gare Maritime, Brussels to assess the smoke and heat removal.

Gare Maritime is part of the site Tour & Taxis in Brussels, Belgium. This vast site was transformed into an industrial complex for distribution of goods at the end of the 19th century. Gare Maritime is an impressively large hall (at the time of construction the largest in Europe) originally used for sorting, packing, storage and distribution of goods. The open floor plan covers approximately 35.000 m².

The entire Tour & Taxis site is under redevelopment since the beginning of the 21st century. The site is transformed into a mixed residential and commercial space with large parks in between new and refurbished buildings.

The redevelopment of Gare Maritime encompasses the restoration of the shell and the addition of new building blocks inside the hall. It will become a covered town where the former shell of the hall creates the sheltered space and several building blocks inside will create space for shopping, work, leisure activities, eating, drinking and public events.

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This unique situation of new building blocks in a larger hall create some engineering challenges. One of these challenges is fire safety and particular the removal of smoke and heat. FPC Risk is a trusted engineering firm in fire risk and emergency management and responsible for the fire safety inside the refurbished Gare Maritime. They asked Actiflow to perform CFD-simulations of fire cases to assess if the removal of smoke and heat is sufficient to ensure possible evacuation of visitors.

The challenge in this specific case was the combination between the huge size of the hall, the relatively small size of the smoke extraction openings, the intensity of the fire, the addition of wind and the duration of the fire. This combination lead to a large computational mesh of approximately 55.000.000 cells and a fire duration of approximately 25 minutes. This huge computational effort was executed efficiently on our HPC-cluster and where needed additional external HPC-capacity was added to ensure a swift process.