View on the building today

View on the new terrace over the pond

Competition image of the courtyard with the pool of the sports centre

A sunken seating area is introduced in the entrance lobby

The main intervention: the new atrium that connects the 3 levels of the podium

Royale Belge


The Royale Belge is a citadel in a beautiful landscape. We want to transform the somewhat sterile and imposing headquarters into a lively and urban foyer. We see the ground floor as an open market square where the different users meet. The entrance hall is transformed into a lively reception area. A hotel function makes it possible to attractively organize the center of the market square as a low-threshold and receptive space from which many ancillary functions can benefit. From the first floor, office floors overlook the lobby.
Behind the lift core, we foresee a very distinct new intervention. A large circular void connects the different parts of the plinth both horizontally and vertically. This creates a crucial new link that visually connects the front and rear of the building and connects the car park with the active layers in the plinth.
Our strategy is to preserve as much of the building as possible. We love the tension between the existing building and the new use. Where we remove materials, we try to give them a new place elsewhere in the building. For example, the marble cladding of the walls at the foyer is reused to envelop serving spaces further down the plan. We also interweave new interventions with the existing. These new gestures do not have to be as luxurious and imposing as the old building, but they can still, in a more light-hearted way, be part of the atmosphere of the Royale Belge.
The building also offers opportunities to make a stronger connection with the surrounding landscape. In the deep plinth we want to provide new green pockets where the landscape is far away, and to make the facade more open to enjoy the environment even more. The inner gardens provide the deep plan with landmarks. The courtyards bring light from top to bottom. Sunken gardens and intensively planted areas create a secondary level of orientation. This green network supports the open mix of activities in the plinth.

  • Design teamDirk Somers, Wim Boesten, Jakub Srnka, Joris Willems, Alex Turner, Tobias Puhlmann, Casper Pasveer, Sjoerd Bosch and David Schönen.
  • LocationBrussels
  • Year2019 -
  • ClientSouverain 25 S.A
  • ProgramHotel (212 kamers), offices, wellness, coworking spaces and a restaurant
  • In collaboration withCaruso St John Architects and DDS+
  • PhotographySéverin Malaud