Architect: Philippe SAMYN and PARTNERS
About the project (text supplied): As a consequence of 2004 European enlargement, the Justus Lipsius building becomes too small for the Council of the European Union (hereafter named the Council). According to the treaty of Nice, adopted in 2001, all European Council2 sessions are held in Brussels, which also generates new real estate needs.
In order to respond to those, the Belgian State offered the Council to cede block A from the complex “Residence Palace” to make it the future seat of both the European Council and the Council, once this building renovated and adapted to its future owners’ needs.
In other words, the Residence Palace needs to be reorganised to accommodate European Council’s quarterly sessions and EU Council’s bi-weekly ones, as well as other important conferences. It must also include rooms for the Presidency and other high level leaders, rooms for Member States delegates and the General Secretary of the Council, as well as international press representatives.
In this perspective, the Council launches in August 2004 a European architecture and project competition and selects, in January 2005, 25 teams of designers in co- operation with the Belgian Buildings Agency.
On September 2nd 2005, the team of architects and engineers composed of Philippe SAMYN and PARTNERS (Lead and Design Partner), with Studio Valle Progettazioni and Buro Happold is designated laureate of a 6 competitors final that takes place from June to September 2005.
The Residence Palace was built between 1922 and 1927 at the initiative of the financier Lucien Kasin and designed by the Swiss architect Michel Polak. The complex is a collective housing experiment under the form of luxurious service flats located next to the city centre. The project will only have a short commercial success and after World War II, the art deco building is converted into ministerial offices by the Belgian State.