A display of stone for the European Community

August 29, 2001
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Comprised of 4 million square feet, more than 2,500 offices and 78 conference halls, the European Parliament Building in Brussels, Belgium, was a massive platform to make an all-encompassing architectural statement. And this task was even more daunting when considering the classic architectural character of the surrounding buildings. But in the end, a collaborative effort resulted in an architectural scheme - and a stone materials palette - that represented the whole of the European Union.

Dubbed Espace L¿old, the facility is a two-building complex that was erected on a site of approximately 8.5 acres. Parliamentary work takes place at the facility for three weeks each month (other facilities are located in Strasbourg and Luxembourg), with additional sittings of parliamentary committees and divisions. All of the offices are located within the two buildings, which cover the area between L¿old Park and the station in the Quartier L¿old. The two buildings are interconnected by an elevated passageway.

The architecture of the space is a collaboration of Atelier de L'Espace L¿old/ste Civile D'Architectes with M. Bouquillon, J. van Pottelsbergh de la Potterie and G. Maes, who planned and erected the building on behalf of the Societ¿space L¿old.

The predominant stone used for the exterior was Platinum Blue granite, quarried and fabricated by Ingemar, S.A. of Us¿rbil, Guip¿zcoa, Spain. The stone is described as a "fine-grain gray granite with a blue shimmer," and it is used to clad the bulk of the exterior. A total of 110,000 square feet of Platinum Blue granite was used on the project, according to Ingemar.

The architects selected a traditional approach to the design, although not fundamentally Belgian in nature. The most conspicuous form of the building is its giant ellipse, which intends to symbolize the unity of the European Community. The lobby, which extends over five floors, is covered by a cathedral-type, semi-circular vault.

While the design of the complex alludes to unification, it still allows the practice of self-portrayal commonly found in government buildings. There is a noticeable "show side," which is characterized by elements such as flags, coats of arms and political ceremonies.

The engineering of the building - both inside and outside - is clearly modern. In addition to the latest office and conference equipment, the building also has a modern natural stone and glass facade. The Platinum Blue granite was utilized as large slabs measuring 3 cm in thickness. At the corners, where the architects wanted the three-dimensional qualities of the stone to stand out, the granite was specified in a 5-cm thickness. In addition to the Spanish stone, green gneiss stone from Brazil is used for the passageways and at the bottom of the facades. Also, red granite from Sweden was used to accentuate prominent points of interest.

Natural stone is also prevalent inside the public areas of the complex. Large interior wall areas are clad with white marble from Greece, accentuated by Italian red travertine in feature areas.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

Recent Articles by Michael Reis

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

November 2013 Stone Products Gallery

Take a look at some of the latest stone industry products.

THE MAGAZINE

Stone World Magazine

April 2014 stone world cover

2014 April

In this month's issue of Stone World, check out an extensive preview of Coverings 2014, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in April. Also learn more about various types of limestone that were used to build private residences.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

CSTD_Spring2014_Cover.jpg

2014 Spring

This issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design includes our annual focus on Kitchen and Bath design

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Training Program

How formal is your training program for new employees?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How_To_Polish_&_Restore_Mar.gif
How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Italian Trade Commission Coverings exhibitor preview

Italian Trade Commission logo 2

The Italian Trade Commission is presenting a large group of the most innovative and internationally renowned Italian suppliers of dimensional natural stones. We hope your busy schedule will allow you to join us for a “genuine” espresso in booth N. 4045 and explore the exciting Italian natural stone resources offered by our exhibitors. Check out Italian stone producers exhibiting at Coverings 2014 here!

  

Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out stoneindustryeducation.com to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook logo Twitter  YouTube