- A consortium of five companies from across Europe wins competition to create a new European Commission office complex in the heart of Brussels
- The complex will replace the aging and inefficient offices that currently stand on the site and will help make the area more attractive
- Project to house over 5,250 people, welcome 345,000 visitors a year and cut emissions by 70 percent compared with existing buildings
- Winning team topped a short list of nine
The team, comprised of Madrid-based architects Rafael de La-Hoz, the London studio of Perkins and Will, German landscape architects Latz + Partner, and Spanish engineering consultants TYPSA and MC2, take first prize in a blind competition to design a new European Commission office building in the heart of Brussels.
The winning team overcame global competitors and will oversee the creation of the new complex, which will further reinvigorate the central European Quarter of Brussels in line with the plans of the local authorities. Alongside the new European Commission offices, which will house more than 5,000 people, will be extensive public realm, retail space, a public gallery and landscaped gardens that will benefit staff, visitors and the local community.
The winning design was selected by a jury of internationally renowned architects and then approved by the European Commission, on the grounds of it offering a future-proofed, resilient and innovative solution to replacing its offices that currently stand on the site.
The new buildings are expected to generate 50% less CO2 emissions and consume 70% less energy compared with the Commission’s existing offices. By concentrating staff on modern and more efficient buildings the Commission will generate savings compared to renovating its existing buildings, or renting alternative office space elsewhere in the European Quarter.
The designs were also commended for the valuable addition the project will make to the ongoing upgrade of the European Quarter. By combining offices with facilities accessible to the wider public like restaurants, shops and public spaces with green areas, the project will contribute to the livelihood of the neighbourhood and will attract more visitors and residents of Brussels to this part of the city.
Steven Charlton, managing director of the London studio of Perkins and Will, said:
“We are delighted to be working jointly with Rafael de La-Hoz to deliver a new heart for European democracy. This project will compliment some of the great work being undertaken by the Development Corporation of the Brussels-Capital Region, and we very much see people and public realm being at the heart of this project.
“Major urban renewal projects are once in a generation opportunities to help places evolve and it is vital that such projects are sensitive to the history and heritage of their surroundings, while also providing the best environment possible for people to live and work.
“As a global practice with a strong London presence, we have worked extensively on many civic projects globally and believe that with technology and wellbeing far up the architectural agenda, there is a huge opportunity to drive forward new standards in sustainability and wellbeing.”
The architect, Rafael de La-Hoz, said:
“It is a real pleasure to be working with such a talented team on what will be an exciting long-term project to realise the future vision of the European Quarter and the wider city of Brussels. Our design proposals seek to open up the site to all, creating a public space that is not only for European Commission employees, but also for visitors to the new Rue de Loi and the wider community.
“Having beaten so many fine practices and designers in the competition, we are honoured to be playing such a central role in creating a new public-orientated heart for Brussels and European democracy.”