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EUROPA BUILDING, BRUSSELS


and its shape was fundamentally generated by the constraints of the programme.”


A different Europe


The Europa building began its journey in more stable times, before David Cameron first mooted the idea of an EU referendum, when the Greek economy was still booming and there were few concerns about migra- tion across Europe’s borders. The 53,815 m2


project was needed to


increase capacity for members of the European Council and the Council of the European Union, after 10 new member states joined in 2004. It will be used for summits and over 6,000 meetings a year, attended by hundreds of Ministers, diplo- mats and interpreters.


The scheme involves the renovation and extension of the existing Europa building, an L-shaped block designed by Swiss archi- tect Michel Polak as a high-end apartment


complex, completed in 1927. The building was later commandeered by the Nazis as a headquarters then, after the second world war, it was purchased by the Belgian government and converted for use as offices.


The egg-shaped lantern fills the void in the L-shaped plan and is self supporting. Due to constraints imposed by the Metro and trains that run underneath the site, the steel structure of the atrium facade is designed to be lightweight and bear the weight of both the outer patchwork of windows and the atrium roof. The structure comprises a number of large trusses and acts as a bridge.


Other constraints imposed by the site include a heritage listing on the original building’s facades, entrances and the central ground floor, which limited further inter- ventions. The new headquarters is adjacent to its old home, the Justus Lipsius built in


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


ADF MAY 2017


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