A former hotel converted into offices, the tower block that occupied this site, close to the historic centre of Brussels, no longer complied with existing occupancy and safety regulations. The reconstruction project was the subject of a competition organised by the Compagnie Immobilière de Belgique. The major difficulty lay in the mixed nature of the buildings in the area - eclectic and modern buildings all in close proximity to the cathedral. The local authorities had expressed a particular desire to reduce the height of the building, while retaining the total surface area. After numerous studies – witnessed by the multitude of models and drawings that were submitted – the architects arrived at a solution in the form of an oval-shaped building rising to 13 storeys that mirrored those in the vicinity. The style adopted was sober and refined, reflecting existing forms rather than adding new ones. Additionally, the main structure was supplemented by an eight storey extension. This served to recreate a street frontage in harmony with the existing buildings while at the same time delivering excellent coherence and functionality for the layout of the interior. The 15cm thick, narrow ventilated double-skin facade is in glass and metal, with the office spaces laid out around a central core, bringing improved light to the work areas.
The complexity and mixed build nature of the site required numerous studies to eventually achieve the correct form and all were tested on models. The studies finally resulted in an enveloping form that established a dialogue – a link – with the immediate environment. Behind the double-skin glass facade, an effect of space and large open areas was created.
in partnership with Montois Parnters