Berlaymont building - European Commission headquarters

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Berlaymont building - European Commission headquarters ( 640x480 )
Berlaymont building, situated in Brussels’ European district at Rue de la Loi 200 / Wetstraat, is home to European Commission headquarters. It is one of the most prominent buildings housing EU and international institutions.

The building got its name after the Dames du Berlaymont, the convent that occupied its site until 1960, then the Belgium state bought the plot and the convent moved to Waterloo. Three years later, the construction of the building started. It took six years and the building became the symbol of the European presence in Brussels. It was designed by architect Lucien De Vestel with the help of Jean Gilson, Jean and André Polaks. It consists of a cross-shaped tower in the shape of a star – with four wings radiating out from a central hub. The floors of the wings are supported by a steel structure hanged to pretension beams placed on the top of a narrow reinforced concrete structure.

A few years later, in 1991 a renovation was needed. It took more than a decade and cost a lot of money. The Commission returned to the building in 2004. The remodeling of the building was carried out by architects Pierre Lallemand, Steven Beckers and Wilfried Van Campenhout. Besides the addition of several meeting rooms, a double façade placed around the tower with movable glass panes was done at the outside and large openings were added in the ground floor to allow natural light distribution in the basement.

Nowadays, all the members of the Barrosso Commission and their cabinets are based here, as well as the office of the President of the Commission and the Commission boardroom; the Secretariat General, Legal Service and other central services of the Commission.

The total floor area is 240,500 square metres. There are 14 floors including ground floor. The building is 55 metres high. The basement is 111 square metres large and it is created by four underground levels. There are 12 conference halls, 47 elevators and 12 escalators, 70 interpreter booths and 1150 parking spaces. There are offices for 3000 officials and meeting rooms with capacity 880 people. The basement is occupied by restaurant and services, TV studio, conference rooms, storage room and other various services.
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