The new complex being built for the European Commission aims to create a lively neighborhood in which to live and work. Located within the European Quarter, the competition site is surrounded by mature urban development on three sides and opens onto the Jardin de la Valle du Malbeek on its west side. A closed perimeter block development currently separates a residential neighborhood on the north side from another to the south. The aim of the design is to connect – and simultaneously increase density in – these two neighborhoods, thereby creating a continuous public space for everyone. The complex will also include a new main entrance for the metro station.
Our design capitalizes on the interplay between open spaces and physical structures. Seven new L-shaped building sections are arranged side by side along the northern and southern corridors, which continue as green space leading into the grounds of the European Commission. Recesses break up the dominant perimeter block design, giving the public more recreational space in pocket parks and along wide boulevards. A variety of retail units, restaurants and landscaped green spaces as well as a visitors’ center give the public uninterrupted access to this attractive and vibrant urban area. Communal open spaces will serve as connecting elements within the buildings as well. The so-called Belvedere on the fifth and sixth floors links all of the built structures with one another and encourages social interaction with informal gathering spaces and terrace access.
The architecture builds on the ideas of order, variance and transformation. The façade of each building has its own distinctive grid pattern that evolves as you move from west to east. The tight grid pattern in the historical urban context gradually loosens the closer you get to the park and the larger-scale buildings. As a result, the architecture becomes a sort of connective tissue between the inner city of Brussels and the European Union’s monumental office towers. Physical barriers and demarcations are kept to a necessary minimum, conveying a sense of scale and openness, while also making the complex a vital and accessible part of the urban organism.
Investor: European Commission – Office for Infrastructure and Logistics
Gross floor area: 240000 m²
Vogeley, Philipp (Lead)
Kochhan, Simon (Project Leader)
Topotek 1 Gesellschaft von Landschaftsarchitekten mbh, Berlin (Landscape design)
RSP Remmel+Sattler Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, Frankfurt (Structural design)
ZWP Ingenieur-AG, Stuttgart (Building services)
Transsolar Energietechnik GmbH, München (Energy planning)
hhpberlin Ingenieure für Brandschutz GmbH, München (Fire proofing)
Matthes Max Modellbau GmbH, München (Model making)
Artefactory Lab, Paris (Visualization)