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Design for Neo 2 convention centre and hotel unveiled

16:51 12/09/2018

Star French architect Jean Nouvel was in Brussels late last week to present his design for the convention centre and five-star hotel planned for the Neo project at Heysel. The convention centre is known as the Neo 2 project, while the shopping, leisure and residential project is known as Europea: Neo 1.

Nouvel has designed some of the most distinctive buildings of the last 30 years, including the National Museum of Qatar, the Torre Glories in Barcelona and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. He was chosen to design the Neo 2 project following a competition. “Finally Brussels will  have a building by Jean Nouvel,” said Brussels-City mayor Philippe Close during Nouvel’s visit.

Nouvel’s design has the convention centre and hotel housed in one building that is located above the Heysel metro station. The convention centre would consists of four stories, with the five-star hotel as a wide, slender tower at one end.

The convention centre will have an 800-seat auditorium and a large flexible space that could hold up to 5,000 people, with a stage that can be put in the front of the room or in the middle. There will be an atrium and a footbridge that connects the centre to Palais 2 at Brussels Expo.

Inspired by Atomium

The 15-storey hotel will have 250 rooms, with a restaurant taking up the entire top floor. Nouvel has named the entire construction Pavilion Gardens.

Nouvel said that his design is inspired by both the look of the Atomium and the trees that line either side of Avenue de l’Atomium. Like in other of his designs, he will bring green space indoors, with a kind of greenhouse as well as trees. There will also be trees on the terraces of the building.

Neo 2 is expected to be completed by 2024, a year after the scheduled date for the completion of Europea. That first phase includes shopping, cultural and leisure centres, as well as some 750 housing units and green space with shallow pools and fountains. It will also be home to a large transport hub.

And now there’s even talk of a natural swimming pond. Although the idea was scrapped in the original design, Close told La Capitale last week that he would like to see one in the leisure section of the project, which will group a number of sport and activity services.

The timing of the entire Neo project, however, is dependent on complaints filed against the project by surrounding municipalities, who fear their downtown shopping areas will be decimated by the new project. Close, however, told Bruzz that he does not expect those procedures to slow down the schedule.

Written by Lisa Bradshaw