'Loom' brings nature into European district

Tim Harrup

One of the future buildings of the European district, and which does not receive a great deal of attention, is Befimmo’s Loom, which will result from a transformation of the existing buildings located at Joseph 2, Loi 44 and Loi 52. Befimmo has been the owner of the Joseph 2 building for just over 25 years, and acquired the adjacent buildings Loi 44 and Loi 52 in 2019 and 2020. The European Commission occupies Joseph 2, and Befimmo has modified its lease terms so that the end of lease should coincide with the granting of a permit for the whole complex, this permit request having been lodged with the authorities this summer. The word ‘Loom’ signifies a certain imposing nature (e.g. ‘the shadow of Merkel will loom over Germany for many years’). In the case of this project, it is ‘nature’ which is set to be omni-present and therefore loom over the complex.

The complex designed by Befimmo – via its architects DDS+ and B-ILD – will be mixed use and extend to around 24,000 m². As is the desire of the authorities for the mutation of the European district, the complex will be green and open to its surroundings. There will be workspace, around fifty residential units, a full range of services and a courtyard-garden with trees and water features. In a break with the closed and dense concrete block architecture which has dominated this district until recent years, Loom will offer air and light to occupants, residents and passers-by.

In practical terms, meeting rooms and other workspace will be located on the ground floor, along with a restaurant and a café with a terrace. Large bay windows will be installed to the front and rear, these latter giving a view over the courtyard-garden.

Among criteria and functionalities to be applied during the construction will be a maximum of re-use of existing materials from this or other sites, rainwater recuperation systems, integrated solar panels, natural ventilation and passive architecture. A maximum of the existing structure will be retained. BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ is being targeted for the design phase, with DGNB and WELL certification also in Befimmo’s sights.