Page N1.1 . 26 February 2003                     
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    Bureau Assar and SOM win New NATO

    by ArchitectureWeek

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced in January 2003 the results of an international architectural design competition for a new NATO Headquarters. They have selected a consortium made up of the London office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and the Belgian Bureau Assar to design the new building. Scheduled for completion in 2009, it will be located adjacent to the current NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

    The selected project is a series of six-story blocks linked by a central hall. Detailed design studies are expected to continue through 2007, but the schematic design consists of about 1.85 million square feet (172,000 square meters), with the option of an additional of 47,000 square feet (4,400 square meters) for future expansion.

    The new headquarters will house conference facilities, offices, modern communications and IT services, and a variety of support spaces such as restaurants, banks, shops, and sports facilities. The designers were asked to make the building "sober" and economical but comfortable.

    On announcing the selection, NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson said: "The winning design is quite remarkable. The graceful structure of the new building, the striking fluidity of its lines are a testimony to NATO's modernity and efficiency. I have no doubt that NATO's new Headquarters will stand at a landmark of Brussels' architectural landscape." SOM Design partner Larry Oltmanns describes it as "a three-dimensional representation of a complex decision-making body."

    Recognizing that the current headquarters, constructed as a temporary facility in 1967, had outgrown the rapid rise in membership, NATO leaders decided in 1999 to construct a new building "to meet the requirements of the Alliance in the 21st Century." An international competition was launched in 2001 under the auspices of the Paris-based International Union of Architects (IUA). The selected project is still in an early stage, with details of design and budget yet to be refined. Construction costs will be shared by current member nations.

    The members of the international jury were NATO officials Jean Fournet, David Wright, and Alessandro Minuto Rizzo, and architects Miroslav Masak, Czech Republic, Meinhard Von Gerkan, Germany, Pierre Sauveur, Belgium, Paul Chemetov, France, Rafael Vinoly, United States, Patricia Patkau, Canada, and Fumihiko Maki, Japan.

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    NATO's new headquarters building will be a series of six-story blocks linked by a central hall.
    Image: NATO

    ArchWeek Image

    The architects selected by a UIA competition are the London office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and the Belgian Bureau Assar.
    Image: NATO

    ArchWeek Image

    Six-story office blocks linked by a central hall.
    Image: NATO

    ArchWeek Image

    The designers were asked to make the building "sober" and economical but comfortable.
    Image: NATO

     

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