House of European History, Brussels, Belgium
The "George Eastman" building, erected in the early 1930s as a dental clinic, is located on Leopold Park in the heart of the European Quarters of Brussels. The old building, which is to be renovated and is a listed building, will be extended by a transparent implant. The free arrangement of the exhibition boxes within the glazed volume is in deliberate contrast to the symmetry of the existing building. During the day, the printed glass envelope frames the moving interior and filters the view; the simple form of the overall volume dominates. At night, the envelope dissolves, the light revealing the play of staggered volumes of full and empty forms.
The atrium in the intermediate area between the old and new buildings has an inviting, bright atmosphere thanks to its light structure and the elegant design of the stairs. To achieve this, 25 mm thick steel sheets were used as stair stringers. These sheets are laterally stabilized by the steps’ L-shaped steel profiles. In order to reduce the free lengths and to optimize the vibration behavior of the stairs, the six stair ramps were not only connected to the respective upper and lower ceiling area; they were additionally affixed by a total of six stainless steel cables and are connected laterally to existing supports. The 24-millimeter thin ropes are only slightly pre-stressed; they are connected on the ground floor or to the roof structure of the atrium, respectively. The rope clamps were specially developed for use in the House of European History so that they optically integrate with the stair stringers perfectly.
As desired, diffuse daylight drifts through the new roof of the atrium into the neighboring exhibition spaces.
The glass implant rises above the existing building as a crowning feature. It has two façades ensuring thermal efficiency
- The external façade, the so-called “display-case façade”, in printed plate glass: this filters the light, lets natural air flow through and offers views in both directions. The bracing façade mullions consist of 4- to 14-m-high, 1cm thick laminated crystal-clear glass slats that also support the horizontal ceiling glazing like a network. The slats, interlocking with each other, allow slender connections at the corners.
- a second façade, the so-called internal façade. This is 50% clear-glazed and is translucent in these areas. The glass parts of the internal façade are made of thermal triple glazing and are connected to an automated sun protection system. The opaque glass components of the exhibition boxes jut out at the level of the display-case façade. This arrangement increases the legibility of the apparently floating boxes.
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New Construction and Re-Use of a former Dental Clinic (Batiment Eastman)
Winner „German Design Award 2020“, category "Excellent Architecture"