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Historic Axa building to become hotel and flats
The iconic Axa building partially constructed in one of the ponds along Boulevard du Souverain in Watermael-Boitsfort, empty now for nearly three years, has been sold and will be renovated. Developers will keep the look of the striking glass facades and turn the building into flats and a hotel, as well as make room for office space.
The unique cross-shaped building was constructed in 1967 for insurers Royale Belge, which was later bought up by Axa insurance. Axa staff worked in the building until they moved premises in 2017. The Brussels region immediately moved to declare the modernist steel and glass structure a protected monument.
The American Embassy considered moving into the building, but ultimately deemed it impossible for security reasons. The building is now owned by a developer, which, together with Brussels’ master architect, launched an architectural competition.
As the building is protected, architects had to develop designs that would not infringe on its design or structural integrity. The winner of the competition was the prestigious British firm Caruso St John, known for carrying out successful projects within the confines of existing historical sites, such as the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and the Tate Britain.
Caruso St John will work together with Antwerp architects Bovenbouw to create the new interior for the 54,000 square-metre building. Plans will be finalised this year, and work is scheduled to begin in the autumn of 2021, with completion two years later. The total investment is €40 million.