The SHAPE has been based in Casteau, near Mons (Hainaut), since 1950. SHAPE stands for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
The organisation itself was created in 1950 and was initially stationed in France. The organisation had to leave its base when its homeland left the military union of NATO (France rejoined the military union of NATO in 2007). When looking for a possible new site, not too far from France and in a sparsely populated area, Casteau, a village near Mons, came into view. The SHAPE built its base there. It consists of a general headquarters, surrounded by a self-sufficient and secured village, where military personnel from all over the world and their families are based.
The original buildings were constructed in the 1950s in a fast pace. In the meantime there is a need for renewal The architectural offices B2Ai and ANMA (Paris) and VK Architects & Engineers for the engineering studies have been selected by the Ministry of Defence to build the new NATO military command centre. The team was selected on the basis of an estimate and a programme proposal. The real design for the new SHAPE is now underway. After the new building has been realized, the existing one will be demolished. The SHAPE has to comply with an extremely complex programme. An administrative building of 50,000 m² is planned for a budget of 177,000,000 €, with many requirements regarding the proper constellations.