SQUARE BRUSSELS MEETING CENTRE
LOCATION / Brussels, Belgium
CLIENT / Palais des Congrès s.a.
AREA / 52 000 sqm above ground - 16 000 sqm basement
PROGRAM / Meeting rooms, offices, exhibition halls, retail, restaurant, and car parks
PROJECT / 2002 - 2006
STATUS / Built 2009
MIPIM AWARDS 2010 – SPECIAL JURY AWARD
QUARTIER DES ARTS AWARD 2010
LE GRAND PRIX DES REGLES D’OR DE L’URBANISME 2010
INTERNATIONAL PROPERTY AWARDS 2010 – The Architecture Award /
RICS AWARDS 2010 : Shortlisted
WAN AWARDS 2009 : Shortlisted
SQUARE Brussels Meeting Centre, an audacious architectural proposition to the city, offers a new-found visibility to the former Palais des Congrès by means of a poetic emblem embodied in the glass cube that forms the principal entrance to the centre, the winning entry designed by A2RC ARCHITECTS for a competition held in 2000. Its tree-like structure and an aesthetic based on transparency and light, irresistibly evokes landscape architecture, takes root in history and projects the ‘Mont des Arts’ into modernity. This monumentality, mild and poetic, dialogues with the image of the garden. Present and at the same time melting into the surrounding architectural landscape, it changes in materiality as the light and time of day change. The main entrance, in the form of a large exterior auditorium, allows an access to the base of the cube, sliding along the exhibition hall under René Pechère’s renovated historic garden created in 1958. This garden forms Brussels’ largest green roof. On the opposite side a terrace leads to the upper access. The carefully articulated cube contains ribbon-shaped suspended stairs and catwalks which connect the different access levels to the complex of 52,000 square metres which optimally exploits the complicated existing structure and succeeds in the challenge of increasing the capacity and the efficiency of the whole. SQUARE now offers 27 meeting rooms with space for between 40 and 1,200 occupants for a total capacity of 3,538 square metres, an exhibition zone of 3,670 square metres divisible into two distinct entities with a free ceiling height of 6 metres, a restaurant, and a brasserie of 420 seats. The reorganisation fully exploits natural light in a building where the majority of spaces are underground. The meeting centre also benefits from the presence of prestigious works of art of René Magritte, Paul Delvaux, Louis Van Lint and Arne Quinze, which create an ambience specific to the site. SQUARE constitutes an attractive technological jewel at the heart of the Quartier des Arts and achieves the transformation of an important historic site with respect for its history and ambition for its future. The poetic emblem of the cube becomes the urban symbol of a new site of communication with the world.