Forward thinking design for a new generation of civic building
Following the decision to hold all European Council meetings and summits in Brussels, new facilities were required to accommodate continuing development. The Council is currently housed in an impressive listed Art Deco building that dates back almost 100 years, representing Belgium’s valuable architectural history. BuroHappold worked as part of the design team to refurbish the existing historical building and create a striking new extension.
The new wing of the Council building will feature an elliptical main hub within a glazed cube. The intricate facade was designed to incorporate a patchwork of oak windows and single glazing reclaimed from different countries within the European Union, seeking to bring together a number of nations within the building fabric itself.
As well as it’s complex form, our team needed to deliver a design that offers excellent environmental performance, thermal insulation and acoustic protection against the busy city centre streets. In addition to the acoustic challenges of a city location, our team had to overcome the difficult site, which is in close proximity to other major buildings and has a railway tunnel running underneath it.
With sustainability and acoustic performance at the forefront of the design brief, our team considered a number of methods to ensure optimal performance. These included, the use of ground source coupling for heating and cooling, rainwater recycling and thermal and photovoltaic panels embedded into the facade and roof. Photovoltaic panels cover both the existing and new buildings, demonstrating how the two work together in unison.
Both striking and distinguished, as well as technologically advanced, the new European Council Headquarters provides an outstanding facility for the Council. Demonstrating the diversity within the countries it represents, the headquarters will lead the way in the future of public building design.
Services and approach
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