Brussels Environment is the government authority in the field of environment and habitat in the Belgian Capital Region and is currently settling in one of the capital’s largest and most important urban renewal districts, the Tour&Taxis site on the Havenlaan. Given that the organ issues ambitious guidelines for sustainability, its own quarters function as an edifying national and international example. The building is characterized by a compact volume with stepped receding floor slabs under a rounded and largely transparent roof. A central atrium functions as a continuation of the adjacent square, which includes the large-scale historical buildings of the Royal Depot and the Sheds, which were recently renovated and now house offices, restaurants, design retail and cultural events.
The new Brussels Environment is BREEAM-Excellent certified and also complies with all the norms applying to Passivbau. It has a relatively small façade surface and is well-insulated, in part due to the utilization of triple glazing in a thermalbreak façade system. To protect against warming up in the summer, the glass is strongly heat-resistant and is combined with external sun shades that react to the heat load. Individual ventilation facilities in the façades also prevent excessive rises in temperature in the summer.
A minimum amount of mechanical ventilation and concrete core activated floors connected to a geothermal pump in the ground also contribute to the building’s compliance with the passive building criteria. The atrium plays an important role in the installation concept, partly because the heat it captures is reused. It also makes a significant contribution to the transparency of the building. A large surface of solar panels is fully integrated in the façade.