The European Parliament is holding an international design contest for a landmark new headquarters in Brussels
The competition seeks proposals to either demolish and rebuild or refurbish and reconfigure the 1995 Paul-Henri Spaak parliament building, which hosts more than 700 MEPs representing the member states of the European Union, along with press areas, meeting spaces and visitor facilities.
UK teams may participate in the latest contest but could be excluded during later stages if an agreement with the EU on future trade fails to materialise following Brexit in January.
The Paul-Henri Spaak parliament building was designed by Michel Boucquillon following a competition in the 1980s but is no longer fit for purpose following the expansion of the union.
It is located at the junction of two urban planning zones in terms of form and functions and is next to a large park in Brussels, Parc Léopold, where various cultural and scientific establishments are located.
In its brief, the parliament describes itself as a ‘multicultural and multilingual assembly where no fewer than 24 languages are routinely spoken and interpreted, embodies the European motto “United in Diversity”.’
The new or refurbished building will contain a chamber that can accommodate all MEPs as well as visitors; parliamentary committee and trilogue rooms; a reception, meeting and educational area for citizens; protocol areas; media areas; areas for cultural activities; areas for social interaction; and support areas for all European Parliament activities. Building flexibility should allow areas to have multiple uses and, in the long term, for functions to be easily altered.
Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union. The European Quarter, located in the centre of the historic city, is home to both the European Commission and the Council of the European Union.
Landmark structures in the area include the Lucien De Vestel-designed Berlaymont building, the Justus Lipsius building, and a large complex – known as the Espace Léopold –which contains the parliament.
The call for applications comes five months after a Spanish, UK and German consortium won an international contest for an enormous new 175,000m² to 190,000m² European Commission office complex in Brussels.
Participating teams must have a minimum annual turnover of at least €1 million and will be required to submit examples of large 120,000m² multi-use urban projects completed within the last 10 years.
Up to 25 teams will be invited to draw up conceptual designs – for either the building’s restoration or for a new building altogether or for both – during the competition’s second stage. One overall winner will receive €150,000.
The deadline for applications has been extended to 5pm local time on 7 January.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Rue Wiertz 60