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Call for proposals for new or renovated European parliament

16:25 13/12/2019

The European parliament has launched a call for preliminary proposals for a complete renovation of its building in Brussels. The Paul Henri Spaak building (pictured), home to the hemicycle that hosts plenary sessions, was constructed between 1993 and 1995, and the infrastructure is no longer adequate to meet its needs.

“This illustrious building now needs a complete overhaul,” reads the call. Proposals should be “aimed at redefining the external and internal volumes as well as the integration of the building into the urban environment, the relationships between functions but also between the different users. The programme includes, of course, the hemicycle but also the parliamentary committee’s rooms, spaces for citizens, for the media and for the organisation of cultural activities. Particular attention will be focused on the flexibility of the building, in the short and long term.”

European parliament secretary-general Klaus Welle said that he thought that a renovation would prove too costly and that an entirely new building was in order. Other Belgian architects have disagreed, including Flanders’ official master architect, Leo Van Broeck.

Van Broeck said that he doubted that a new building would be less expensive than a renovation. He also said that any new renovation or construction should represent a connection with citizens and not be seen as a symbol of administrative complexity.

Brussels’ master architect, Kristiaan Borret, is working together with Welle on the preliminary proposals, which are due by 7 January. “The candidates are free to choose to propose a new building or a renovation of the existing building,” he told Bruzz. “Before next summer, 25 teams will be selected to further develop their proposals.”

Photo courtesy BMA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw