• Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook

Search This Blog

Visit our new website.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Grand designs

Around the EU quarter in Brussels there seems to be a lot of building work going on.

Firstly there is a big office block being torn down between the Council's Justus Lipsius building and the shiny new Lex building.

Justus Lipsus... LEX building

Its replacement is going to be rather unusual looking...

... and apparently this will be the new Council building when they move into the Residence Palace in a few years time. Clearly the current building, with a mere 24 kilometers of corridors, is too small.

However, there are some other big buildings going up. On the other side of the Schuman Roundabout from the Commission there is something big under construction.

The trademark glass curtain wall - which seems to be compulsory for all buildings in the EU area - is just being stuck on at the moment.

And then there is a third huge new building. It is being thrown up round the back of the Council on the Belliard side.

Are these new buildings just offices for lobbyists, or are some of them for the new EU institutions set up by the (rejected) Lisbon Treaty? Do any Brussels residents know?

There are certainly some very grand designs afoot for the EU quarter.

According to AFP, there is currently a competition for architects to carry out "operation facelift" which will tart up the whole area and incorporate a bunch of new EU buildings (another 220,000 square metres of EU office space, according to wikipedia)

And it's not like the EU is cramped for space now. The Commission already seems to occupy a fair chunk of Brussels and lists 68 main buildings in Brussels. (Never mind the buildings of the Parliament or the Council or the buildings outside Brussels.)

To paraphrase Jose Barroso, is there a degree of empire building going on here?

No comments: