Due to its large dimensions, the Heysel plateau constitutes the intersection of several metropolitan landscapes. Due to the very strong presence of groves, avenue-lined trees, small gardens, and the nearby countryside, the vegetal aspect globally federates the site.
The landscape plan relies on these existing geometries to insert several plantation frames. These frames respond to the large plant structures deployed along the Avenue Impératrice Charlotte and the Boulevard du Centenaire.
These same patterns are repeated on several levels of the building and form a vertical landscape producing a strong image in the heart of the Heysel Plateau. The omnipresence of vegetation ensures a unique visual experience for visitors and users as they approach the building.
IMMEDIATE SURROUNDINGS & ARCHITECTURE
The aim is to incorporate the two programs (convention center and hotel) into the same architecture. A single building with clear and elegant legibility and simplified interactions. Its heights are in line with the surrounding buildings, its mass is consistent with its surroundings. The position of the Hotel allows the two programs to be read together and independently!
FACADES: CONTEXTUALITY & OBJECT OF LIGHT
The architectural language is inspired by a greenhouse. The facades offer a set of clear / textured / lenticular / opaque glazings that capture, diffract, repeat, multiply the rays of the day and the architecture’s close surroundings. The substance of the site is an exploding object of light that produces a chosen and focused repetition of the image: the Atomium, vegetation, surrounding buildings, sky, light, etc. …
THE THEATERS: PLENARIES & AUDITORIUMS
The key words in the design of the spaces are: “simplicity, flexibility, aesthetics”.
- Level 0: A fully-fledged convention center and an 800-seat auditorium
This area is modulated according to the users’ evolutions and desires. It is multi-purpose and can accommodate exhibitions, stands, banquets, private salons, small-scale negotiation areas, pop-up stores, food buffets… In sum, everything that seems conceivable in the context of congresses, exhibitions and social events. The 800-seat auditorium can be accessed from this level.
- Level 1: The plenary theatres seating 3500 and 1500 people
These are flexible and conceived as real “toolkits” for different uses. They are evolutive and can be transformed by adding or removing flexible spaces.
They are equipped with:
- a central, shareable and separable stage space,
- “capacity adjustment” in the form of a sliding-out motorized graded seating arrangement to increase the capacity of the large plenary hall from 3,500 to 5,000 seats,
- a telescopic stand whose deployment also allows the capacity of the small plenary theater to be expanded.
These devices are complemented by dividing curtains.
There is immense flexibility and scalability in the plenary theaters, and settings can be customized.
- Level 2: the 600-seat Hemicycle
The large 600-seat hemicycle can be divided into two spaces of 300 seats each by a movable partition. The large bay window at the back of the theatre will provide natural light.
THE OTHER AREAS OF THE CONVENTION CENTER
- The Orangery/Atrium
This is the project’s landmark: the Orangery houses the escalators, the main mode of mobility for congress attendees. The Atomium is easily visible on each level through the glazed walls.
- The footbridge to Palais 2 of Brussels Expo
The footbridge is in complete continuity with the foyer on the first level. Its wide course is animated by exhibition areas. Its continuous layout overcomes the ” circulation ” aspect of the facility.
- Bars and fast food restaurants
They are accessible to circulating areas and foyers. Their fronts are glazed on the outside. These spacious and high ceilings offer pleasant and bright spaces. As they are located to the south-east, they enter into a dialogue with the Atomium.
The Hotel’s position makes it the culmination of the project on a city scale. On the south-east side, it faces the Atomium, Brussels and the royal parks. On the northwest side, it offers a panoramic view of Flanders. It asserts this emblematic role through its neat aesthetics: its facades with clear / textured / lenticular glazing organize a geometric canvas, whose graphic organization strongly characterizes the site’s aesthetics
- The hotel Entrance: it is ideally located at the corner of Avenue Impératrice Charlotte.
- The hotel’s upper lobby: located on the large roof of the Convention Center, it gives immediate access to a large terrace, a hanging garden above Brussels.
- The south-eastern rooms overlook the Atomium: the play of facades enlivens this view to make it even more exceptional. The north-western rooms offer a view of the suburbs: a long window highlights this view.
A sky bar, which is accessible from the Hotel and Convention Center, completes the offer. The tables, located along the facade, have a 360° panoramic view. The bar is provided with a metallic night blue ceiling and an LED net, visible from the street and providing a signal, an invitation to come and have a drink in this new place in Brussels.