Architects: A2RC Architects
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Client: Palais des Congrès sa and SPF
Artist: Arne Quinze
Budget: 60,000,000 €
Area: 52,000 sqm
Competition year: 2000
Project year: 2002-2006
Construction year: 2006-2009
Photographs: A2RC Architects
An audacious architectural proposition to the city offers a newfound visibility to the former “Palais des Congrès” by means of a poetic emblem embodied in the glass cube that forms the principal entry to SQUARE, Brussels Meeting Centre.
Its treelike 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, dialogs 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 entry, in the form of a large exterior auditorium, allows an entry to the base of the cube, sliding along the exposition hall under René Pechère’s renovated historic garden. A terrace leads to the upper access situated on the « Esplanade du Mont des Arts ».
The carefully articulated cube contains ribbon shaped suspended stairs and catwalks that connect the different access levels to the complex of 50,000 sqm that optimally exploits the complex existing structure and succeeds in the challenge of increasing the capacity and the efficiency of the whole. Square now offers 27 meeting rooms of 40 to 1,200 for a total capacity of 3,538, an exposition zone of 3,670 sqm divisible in two distinct entities with a free ceiling height of 6m, a restaurant, and a « brasserie » of 420 places.
The reorganization 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 that decorate the foyers and position colours, which create an ambiance specific to the site.
Square therefore constitutes an attractive technological jewel at the heart of the « Quartier des Arts » and consumes the transformation of an important historic site by respect for it’s history and ambition for it’s future.
The poetic emblem of the cube becomes the urban symbol of a new site of communication with the world.