Information has been released for the design of the new Solvay headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The design of the chemical company's building is completely sustainable and will create a welcoming space for visitors and employees to enjoy.
Schmidt Hammer Lassen has released images and details of its competition-winning design for Solvay HQ. The company will be working in collaboration with Modulo Architects and VK Engineers.
The scheme is located on a 22-hectare site in the Belgian capital, which has hosted many of Solvay’s activities since 1953. The design team sought to reach beyond the typology of a typical corporate office, instead offering a fluid, collaborative space, dedicated to interaction and innovation.
“In the earliest stages, it became clear that one compact building with one common entrance into a sweeping atrium, would allow everyone who passes through the headquarters to share the same unique experience of the building and create a strong sense of belonging,” explained Schmidt Hammer Lassen partner, Tiago Pereira. “We translated Solvay's desire for a welcoming, innovative, sustainable headquarters into an architecturally bold statement that reflects its core values and creates a new identity.”
The Solvay Headquarters sets ambitious environmental targets, aiming to be a zero-carbon footprint, near-zero-energy building. The scheme is set within a green campus, with visitors welcomed by an “urban carpet” of benches, trees and reflective pools. Above, a large green roof offers unobstructed views across the landscape, while skylights and sunken gardens maximise the connection between interior and exterior.
An existing park to the west will be forested, with the reinstatement of an 18th-century stream linked to the Senne. Across the campus, rainwater will be harvested and reused, with the stream amplifying natural rainwater ponds to enhance biodiversity. To the north, an open-air amphitheatre is shaped with consideration for existing trees and to take advantage of the naturally-sloping landscape.
These outdoor spaces guide visitors to a glazed, naturally-lit, inviting entrance lobby of the main building, flanked by a café and Experience Centre. Lined with informal workspaces, such as a large social staircase, the atrium also serves as a visual connection to the formal workspaces above.
The first two floors of the building contain laboratories and workshops, with four upper floors dedicated to offices. These two blocks are linked by the Meeting Centre, offering spaces for employees to relax, and providing a connection to panoramic terraces.
Expected to be certified as BREEAM Excellent, the scheme integrates a broad range of environmentally-conscious features, including geothermal energy, solar cells, and natural ventilation, while Solvay has committed to minimising the impact of its manufacturing and industrial waste processes on surrounding air, water, and soil.