New Solvay Campus

Brussels/ Belgium

Size/ 42,000 m²
Competition/ 2018, First prize in an international competition
Status/ Ongoing
Client/ Solvay
Lead Architect/ Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Local Architect/ Modulo Architects
Landscape Architect/ Ontwerpbureau Pauwels
Lead Engineer/ VK Engineers
MEP/ Istema NV
Explosion Prevention/ Abesco CVBA
Scenography/ Kollision

The design for the new sustainable headquarters for the global chemical company, Solvay, is located in Brussels, Belgium. The new campus signals a shift for Solvay towards a more open, sustainable culture amidst a recent radical transformation of its business portfolio. The new building, located on the 22-hectare site that has housed many of Solvay's activities since 1953, will not be a typical corporate office, but rather a fluid, collaborative space where teams and partners can co-create and interact.

Solvay’s offices currently located in Neder-over-Heembeek, north of Brussels, are ageing. Some of the structures are 60 years old, and the roughly 1,000 Solvay employees who work there are spread across more than 20 buildings, hampering collaboration and interaction.

The design represents the essence of what this transitional time means for the Solvay organization. It expresses Solvay’s humanist vision of science fostering innovation and attracting talent.

The new large green roof, designed as a geometric garden, offers unobstructed views of the surroundings. It also features skylights and large sunken gardens that provide the workshop areas beneath with access to the outdoors.

The Esplanade is the "urban carpet" that welcomes people to the premises and has a more formal, urban character than its surroundings, featuring planters with benches, solitary trees, and small reflective pools.

The building makes a dynamic impression thanks to the shift in levels and the terraces. The extensive digital applications will contribute to the building's smart use of energy, and the open, transparent design will act as a lighthouse on the campus.

Inside the building, an impressive atrium, bathed in natural light, will offer social and visual connectivity between floors and departments.

Informal workspaces, such as the large social staircase that lines the atrium and the peaceful green patio that serves as a backdrop, will welcome new ways of working, communicating and collaborating.

The first two floors house the laboratories and workshops, while the offices occupy the upper four floors. In between these, the Meeting Centre allows employees to gather, relax and communicate, while taking in the campus's green views through large 360° terraces.

Sustainability and resiliency are two key drivers in the design of the new Solvay headquarters. The company's dedication to its green ambitions are evident throughout the design of the zero carbon footprint, near zero energy building and green campus.

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