A stunning new convention center by Daniel Libeskind was just completed in Mons, Belgium to help inaugurate the city as the European Capital of Culture. The ship-like prow of the building stands as a bold landmark, bridging the old city and the new. Daniel Libeskind collaborated with H2a Architects to create one of his signature shard-like designs, with its collision of geometric forms, to act as a centerpiece for the city's rebirth.
The beautiful European Capital of Culture building is made up of two intersecting forms—an elliptical lower level and a sharp form that seems to bisect it. The contrasting geometric forms are each clad with their own material. The ellipse is encased with a latticework of natural colored Robinia wood, while the shard gleams with champagne-anodized aluminum. Together they harmonize with their distinctive looks and shapes, integrated together to make a memorable profile.
The sprawling 12,500 square-meter building was made from locally sourced materials, cutting construction costs. The roof is covered with photovoltaic cells that account for most of the building’s energy needs. Arranged in rows and slats, both the wooden and metal facades are pulled back for entryways, as well as strategic slatted window and sky light areas that help to fill the interior with natural lighting, without interrupting the flow of the facade.
Inside the entryway, the interior unfolds like an oblong spiral, leading visitors around the building’s perimeter from one flexible space to the next. Throughout, the floor is inlaid with Belgian bluestone, which is found in the area. Upstairs, a viewing platform allows visitors and employees to overlook the nearby historic city, or take a respite from meetings and activities inside.
photos via Hufton and Crow