Schmidt Hammer Lassen Design Zero-Carbon Headquarters for Global Chemical Company in Brussels

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Quad campus. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Quad campus. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Schmidt Hammer Lassen has released images and details of its competition-winning design for the headquarters of Solvay, an advanced materials and chemicals company, to be located in Brussels, Belgium. Working in collaboration with Modulo Architects and VK Engineers, the Danish firm has prioritized sustainability and resilience in the zero-carbon, near-zero-energy building. The winning team was chosen from a competitive international field including OMA, Valode & Pistre, Wilmotte & Associés, and Henning Larsen.

Night view. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Night view. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Facade. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Facade. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen

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
Amphitheater. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Interior roof park. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Winter view. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Entrance. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Lobby. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Office space. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Conceptual sketch. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Conceptual sketch. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Model. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
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. 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.
-Tiago Pereira, Partner, Schmidt Hammer Lassen

Amphitheater. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Amphitheater. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Interior roof park. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Interior roof park. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen

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 a formal “urban carpet” of benches, trees, and reflective pools. Above, a large green roof offers unobstructed views across the landscape, while skylights and sunken gardens maximize the connection between interior and exterior.

Winter view. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Winter view. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Entrance. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Entrance. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen

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 amphitheater is shaped with consideration for existing trees and to take advantage of the naturally-sloping landscape. 

Lobby. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Lobby. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Office space. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Office space. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen

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 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 space for employees to relax, and providing a connection to panoramic terraces.

Conceptual sketch. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Conceptual sketch. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Conceptual sketch. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Conceptual sketch. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen

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 minimizing the impact of its manufacturing and industrial waste processes on surrounding air, water, and soil.

Model. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Model. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen
News of the scheme follows on from another environmentally-conscious corporate campus designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen, with plans for the new campus of Norway’s largest geotechnical specialist community announced earlier this year.

 News via: Schmidt Hammer Lassen

  • Architects: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • Location: Brussels, Belgium
  • Architect In Charge: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • Local Architect: Modulo Architects
  • Lead Engineer: VK Engineers
  • Landscape Architect: Ontwerpbureau Pauwels
  • Mep: Istema NV
  • Explosion Prevention: Abesco CVBA
  • Scenography: Kollision
  • Area: 42000.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2018
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