17 - 18 september 2024 - Gare Maritime, Brussels

Architecture – A breathtaking project at the heart of the European Parliament, aka the “Caprice des Dieux”

A pan-European design collective called Europarc, with teams from JDSA, Coldefy, CRA, NL and Ensamble, has won the international competition organised by the European Parliament to renew the Paul-Henri Spaak building in Brussels, also known as the “Caprice des Dieux”. Although the visuals have finally been unveiled, nothing is clear about the timeframe or the outcome of this major renovation project. Given the current economic situation, it seems clear that the project, if it is finally validated and budgeted, is not likely to see the light of day for at least five years. The building in question, which is the centrepiece of the whole complex and its nerve centre, has many shortcomings. The winning project is based on the premise of avoiding demolition and reconstruction, which is costly and unsustainable for the European authority in terms of CO2 impact.

One of the main ideas of Europarc, the winning team, is to open up the site and strengthen the pedestrian routes and connections to the adjacent Place du Luxembourg and Parc Léopold, creating a better link between this closed-off complex and the city. The Hemicycle, a new chamber for the European Parliament, will be located on the upper levels of the building. It will be redesigned to integrate more modern amenities that include a number of digital features to broaden external and non-physical connections. Finally, a Green Agora, a rooftop botanical garden and meeting place will be located at the highest point of the building, covering but visually connected to the Hemicycle through an open ceiling.

Photo credit: Europarc consortium

Share this article

Scroll to Top