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BUILDING PROJECTS


EUROPA BUILDING BRUSSELS


Lantern for Europe


A glowing egg wrapped in a transparent glass screen forms the centrepiece of the new headquarters of the EU Council in Brussels, but this innovative building is about much more than showy architectural bravura. Stephen Cousins reports


W


hoever emerges victorious in the UK’s general election this June, they will shortly afterwards find


themselves in the Europa building, the new headquarters for the Council of the EU in Brussels, where the bulk of Brexit negotia- tions will play out


The controversial project, previously criticised by David Cameron for its inflated £300m+ budget, features a bulging egg- shaped structure that will glow at night like a lantern, wrapped in a huge glass atrium with a patchwork of over 3,000 reclaimed timber window frames. The design was developed – by Belgian architecture studio Samyn and Partners, Italian architects Studio Valle and British structural engineers Buro Happold – to symbolise everything positive about Europe: unity, transparency and diversity. At its heart is a huge room with kaleido- scopic rainbow carpets and ceiling tiles, designed by Belgian artist Georges Meurant, where EU leaders will hold summit meetings. At first glance, the building might appear excessive or flamboyant, but its design was a logical response to the constraints of the brief, says Philippe Samyn, director of Samyn & Partners: “The project is not the consequence of a wish to be original, or an act of bravura. It had to be eye catching but not at the expense of unnecessary materials,


The building’s design was developed to symbolise everything positive about Europe: unity, transparency and diversity


ADF MAY 2017 WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


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