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EUROPA BUILDING, BRUSSELS


The ‘onion’ strategy forms part of a deep-rooted environmental approach that responded to the EU Council’s desire to see sustainability


displayed in many aspects of the architectural and technical design


the 1980s, and connects to it by two footbridges.


The lantern is symmetrical in plan and includes 11 occupied floors that vary in size depending on the specific requirements of each programme. The largest conference space, on level five/six, mid-way up the structure, can accommodate 250 people. Two smaller conference rooms are located at levels three/four and seven/eight. There is a cafeteria on the ground floor, a press room, on level one/two. There are several dining rooms, the largest is on level 11 with capacity for 50 people. Samyn comments: “When we analysed the number of square metres needed for each floor of the building and saw that it increased gradually, from the bottom to the middle, then decreased again towards the roof. That was the genesis of the idea for the lantern shape. The circular form is ideal for meeting rooms, where people gather to talk, and preferable to a rectangular space that sets up a hierarchy.” The floors are stretched slightly into ellipses, rather than perfect circles, due to site constraints.


Harmonious patchwork


The transparent atrium facade wraps around the entire northeast corner of the site and incorporates some 3,750 recycled oak window frames, sourced from renova- tion or demolition sites across Europe, including a castle in the UK and a farm in Italy. This “harmonious patchwork” is based on a special algorithm developed to match units of different sizes together to form the overall design. A second layer of glazing, located 2.7 metres behind the windows, cuts the impact of noise from the adjacent road, and boosts thermal insulation as part of an ‘onion’ strategy for energy performance. The facade comprises four separate layers: the atrium facade has an outer and an inner single glazed layer, the lantern has


ADF MAY 2017 WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


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