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META architectuurbureau | 1:38
CONSTRUCTION is now well underway on Pritzker Architecture Prize winning architect Eduardo Souto de Moura’s new exhibition and convention centre in Bruges, Belgium.
Designed in collaboration with Antwerp-based firm META architectuurbureau, the centre replaces the old trade fair and exhibition hall, which could no longer meet the demands of the growing city.
Retaining only the 38 trees already on site, the new centre was conceived as a large covered public square that could be transformed to host a variety of events.
Above: The convention centre taking shape on the Bruges skyline (image courtesy of Bruges Meeting and Convention Centre).
The site has traditionally held trade fairs, high profile concerts, exhibitions, and spontaneous events open to passersby - the new centre will be able to do all this and more.
Architects have designed the building to appear as though it sits on a glass pedestal, the lower floors open and unencumbered, blurring the interior and exterior spaces.
The rest of the building draws a deliberately stark contrast with the external facade composed of recycled brick.
Above and Below: The building will appear to hover above a glass pedestal (images courtesy of Infunctievan).
As the centre is publicly funded, it was important that the architecture fully supported the functionality of the building and that design wasn’t incorporated just for design’s sake.
Amenities include a divisible auditorium with retractable tiered seating, as well as eight meeting rooms that can be reconfigured into 12 private spaces.
All in all there will be 4,500 square metres of exhibition space and a conference section that will have capacity for up to 500 delegates.
While a dining and catering space occupies a terrace with spectacular views of the Bruges skyline.
There will also be underground parking for 200 bicycles and 124 vehicles.
Above and Below: Several of the spaces are easily adaptable to suit a variety of events (images courtesy of Infunctievan).
Located in the heart of the historical city centre, the building will be within walking distance of all major tourist attractions and most hotels.
Bruges hopes the centre will be a major draw for future conferences and exhibits.
Originally slated to open at the end of 2021, construction is now due to complete in January 2022.
Header image courtesy of Infunctievan.