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Charlemagne

Location Brussels, Belgium
Timeline 1996 - 1998

complete renovation of existing office building

Intro

This major renovation in collaboration with Helmut Jahn, Montois and Paul Noël is a milestone in the VK portfolio. The collaboration with an internationally acclaimed architect, challenging structural solutions and complex technical studies perpetuated VK's prominent role as an engineering firm for large-scale office projects. Since the renovation, the building has been home to the European Commission.

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Client(s)
  • Cofinimmo
Architects
  • Helmut Jahn
  • Montois & Partners
  • Atelier d’Architecture Paul Noël
Stats
74525 m²

Story

Wind tunnel tests were carried out at the University of Stuttgart to determine the strength of the design.

Offices brussels charlemagne 2 web

This iconic building in the European district of Brussels was in serious need of renovation and expansion. VK performed structural studies and M&E engineering.

Most notable in the architecture of this building is the steel structure, which supports all the elements of the glass facade using hundreds of supporting trusses embedded in the concrete construction. Wind tunnel tests were carried out at the University of Stuttgart to determine the strength of the design. Spider crack-effect glass and compressed and uncompressed bars were used in various parts of the structure. Reinforcements were added to carry the extra weight of the permanent mobile crane used for cleaning the outside of the building.

The building structures were added to the original base, on top of the 3 underground parking levels. The underlying foundations and structures were reinforced for the new conference rooms, the kitchen, and the restaurant. The levels were constructed using a combination of reinforced and pre-tensioned concrete. The complexity of the roof design required that the structure be made of steel. A complete level was also added.

Two of the three wings of the office building were expanded to include new stairwells for all 20 levels. A second stairwell was added to the 3rd was integrated into the internal structure. Existing structures were changed to accommodate extra lifts, escalators, etc.

The technical installations include HVAC, electricity, fire detection, plumbing, access control, elevators and escalators, and audio-visual installations.

The climatisation of the office area is provided by means of Hygienic Air Handling Units per module. Conference rooms, expositions areas, restaurants, and cafeteria are climate controlled using separate air treatment installations. The exhaust air is used to ventilate the underground parking garage. The interpreter booths use a separate climate control system.

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