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Solvay 'City of Lights'

Location Neder-Over-Heembeek, Belgium
Timeline 2018 - 2021

engineering of new headquarters for a chemical and plastics multinational


The chemistry multinational wanted to renew its main campus with an emphasis on collaboration and participation. In addition to offices, the new main building also contains laboratories, R&I workshops and various meeting places. With an impressive atrium as a connector. Among other things, geothermal energy, natural ventilation and solar cells result in a carbon-neutral nZEB building, with BREEAM Excellent ambition.

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  • Solvay
  • Modulo Architecten
  • Schmidt Hammer Lassen Arkitekter
42000 m²


Solvay hopes to create a true R&I community in a shared, open center and to become the heart of an R&I ecosystem in the Benelux.

Recently, Solvay radically transformed its business portfolio to high-growth and high-value advanced materials and specialty chemicals, due to dramatic advances in science and technology. This transformation is guided by a vision of being open and connected to the world, acting sustainably, innovating and collaborative. The current campus did not meet these ambitions, with some 1.000 employees being scattered over 20 buildings, some of which are 60 years old.

By the end of 2021, one single modern building will house all employees in an open atmosphere of cooperation and co-creation, to promote well-being and work-life balance. The building will function as a fluid, collaborative space with state-of-the-art digital applications to optimize new ways of working. As such, Solvay hopes to create a true R&I community in a shared, open center and to become the heart of an R&I ecosystem in the Benelux.

As Solvay’s new headquarters, the building houses two floors of business units and offices, two floors of labs and R&I workshops, a meeting center with green roof in between, and a ground floor with main entrance lobby, a café and Solvay’s Experience Center - all connected by means of a large atrium.

The sustainability aspirations aim for a carbon-neutral and nZEB-status, with BREEAM Excellent credentials. This will be obtained, amongst others, by applying geothermal energy, natural ventilation, optimal re-use of rain water and 1.5 football fields of solar cells - e.g. the upper technical floor will be covered in PV-cells. Extensive digital applications will contribute to the building’s smart use of energy.

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