European Parliament Design Competition Belgium, Paul-Henri SPAAK Building Brussels, Architecture

European Parliament Design Competition Brussels, Belgium

29 May 2020

European Parliament Design Competition Brussels in Belgium

Renewal of the Paul-Henri SPAAK Building in Brussels

European Parliament International design competition

The European Parliament have launched a restricted international single stage design competition for the renewal of the Paul-Henri SPAAK Building, its Chamber building in Brussels. Architects from all around the world are invited to submit their expressions of interest to participate in the competition.

The aim of this major architectural competition is to select the concept that reaches the best equilibrium between the different objectives of the project and to select the best planning team to realise the design.

Aerial view Parliament Buildings from Place du Luxembourg, Brussels:
European Parliament Design Competition Brussels
photo © European Union


  • The European Parliament is present in 3 locations: Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and Brussels.
  • Subject of the competition is the renewal of the Paul-Henri SPAAK Building, the Brussels Chamber building of the European Parliament in the centre of Brussels with a total area of approx. 84,000 sqm GFA.

The notion of “renewal” covers all approaches between a “renovation” of the building, and a “reconstruction” of the building. It is one of the main components of the competition task to identify the right approach.

  • Between 12 to 15 groups of architects, as lead members, together with structural engineers and environmental experts will be selected through an open pre-qualification procedure
  • Deadline for the submission of applications is July 9, 2020
  • Working period: September to November, 2020
  • An internationally renowned professional jury will review the submissions
  • A total sum of approx. 1.5 Mio Euro (net) is intended for prizes and honoraria


The European Parliament is a symbolic heart and home of European democracy, central to the continent’s modern history. Its building heritage is significant not only for the European legislators, but also for citizens, in that it provides important public spaces for dialogue and for experiencing European democracy and its values and is also a focal point for European celebrations and commemorations of our joint democratic heritage.

The European Parliament, through its directly elected Members, represents more than 440 million European citizens. The building heritage should be preserved and further developed as a strong symbol of our modern history.

The overall strategic goal of the project is to improve the sustainability of the building, focusing on social and environmental sustainability.

The Task

European Parliament- Paul- Henri SPAAK Building

The Paul-Henri SPAAK Building is part of an estate of around ten buildings with a total area of some 665,000 sqm. The gross floor area of the current building is around 84,000 sqm and could be increased within existing urban planning constraints. It houses the Chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels for its 705 Members from all over the European Union.

The European Parliament, as a multicultural and multilingual assembly where no fewer than 24 languages are routinely spoken and interpreted, embodies the European motto ‘United in diversity’.

The main building of the European Parliament’s Brussels site, the Paul-Henri SPAAK Building, houses not only the Chamber, where Members meet in par-sessions , but also facilities for holding parliamentary committee meetings, organising press conferences and welcoming visitors.


The task of the European Parliament Design Competition in Brussels is to provide the best solutions for the renewal of the European Parliament Chamber building and its surrounding area. The future building must create the link between the urban and the natural, and become a symbol and integral part of the city and of the landscape.

The winning proposal is expected to be a paradigm of architecture with an outstanding visual identity for the building and the Chamber Hall with a strong emphasis on environmental aspects. The design is to support the architectural quality of the city and will resonate with the European citizens as a representation of the power of their voice.

Offering flexible spaces, the building should be easily adaptable to the EP’s development over time and at the same time constitute a model of sustainable and regenerative building.


The prospective building will contain:

  • the Chamber Hall, which will accommodate all Members as well as visitors;
  • parliamentary committee and trilogue rooms;
  • a reception, meeting and educational area for citizens;
  • protocol areas;
  • media areas;
  • areas for cultural activities;
  • areas for social interaction;
  • support areas for all European Parliament activities.

Functions should be organised in a very user-friendly manner, with natural visibility that minimises signage and with clear routes for users, including protocol, media, visitors and logistics. Visitors should furthermore be able to follow a route that will give them a unique experience. Building flexibility should be such as to allow, in the short term, for multiple uses to be made of areas and, in the long-term, for functions to be easily altered.

Location of the site

The Paul-Henri SPAAK Building is located in Brussels, capital of Belgium, and Europe. It is situated in Quartier Léopold, between rue Wiertz and Parc Léopold, on the edge of the estate of the European Parliament’s buildings. The building is located at the junction of two urban planning zones in terms of form and functions and is next to a large park in Brussels, Parc Léopold, where various cultural and scientific establishments are located.

Competition Type

The procedure involves a process in two steps (step 1: an open pre-qualification procedure for the selection of competitors among candidates; step 2: a restricted international single stage design competition). The language of the competition is English. The competition is organized according to the UNESCO Standard Regulations for International Competitions in Architecture and Town Planning and the UIA (International Union of Architects) best practice recommendations. The endorsement by the Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA) is pending.


For details regarding the pre-qualification procedure (Eligibility, Requirements during the pre-qualification, exclusion and selection criteria etc.) and access to the online application platform, which enables candidates to submit their application for the pre-qualification free of charge, please follow the link:

The application shall be made exclusively via the online form.

Parties involved

Contracting Authority

European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, 60, 1047 Brussels, Belgium, represented by

Leena Maria Linnus, Director General for Infrastructures and Logistics


The evaluation of the submitted proposals, as well as the selection of prize-winners, is carried out by a jury that will comprise:

11 jurors with vote:

  • four general jurors
  • Rainer Wieland, Vice-President of the European Parliament
  • Pedro Silva Pereira, Vice-President of the European Parliament
  • Rudy Vervoort, Minister President of the Brussels-Capital Region
  • Bety Waknine, Head of the Brussels Planning and Heritage Regional Public Service
    • seven architectural jurors
  • Marilyne Andersen, Physicist and Environmental specialist, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Kristiaan Borret, Urban Planner, BouwMeester Architect of the Brussels Region, Belgium
  • Manuelle Gautrand, Architect, Paris, France
  • Dorte Mandrup, Architect, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Carme Pigem, Architect, Olot, Spain
  • Kazuyo Sejima, Architect, Tokyo, Japan
  • Dimitri Tenezakis, Architect, Head of Luxembourg and Strasbourg Major Construction Projects Unit, Unit – DG INLO – European Parliament.

as well as alternate jurors without vote:

  • alternate general jurors:
  • Dita Charanzová, Vice-President of the European Parliament
  • Heidi Hautala, Vice-President of the European Parliament
  • Alain Hutchinson, European Commissioner of the Brussels-Capital Region
  • Thibaut Jossart, Director at the Brussels Planning and Heritage Regional Public Service
    • alternate architectural jurors:
  • Romain Poulles, Engineer, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • Anna Przybyl, Head of the Building projects Unit in Strasbourg – DG INLO – European Parliament.
  • Volker Staab, Architect, Berlin, Germany
  • Lisa de Visscher, Architect, Editor in chief of A+ magazine, Brussels, Belgium

Supervision and Endorsement

It is intended to have the procedure approved by the uia (Union Internationale des Architectes).

Competition Management

The competition is coordinated and conducted on behalf of the European Parliament with the help of:

AT-Osborne-Tractebel Engineering, Brussels, Belgium and [phase eins]. Architects, Berlin, Germany

Honoraria and Prizes

Each competitor who submits a detailed and assessable design concept in accordance with the requirements in the competition brief will receive a flat-rate fee of EUR 75,000, excluding VAT² as compensation for the expenses incurred, against receipt of an invoice in full and final settlement.

In addition, the Jury will award 5 prize winners among the submitted design concepts and will award prizes among them. The sum of the prizes will amount to 400.000 €, net of VAT.


  • Request to participate submission deadline July 9, 2020 16:00 CET
  • Dispatching of invitations for the design competition September, 2020
  • Participants colloquium Date of invitation + 2 weeks
  • First Deadline for submitting projects Date of invitation + 12 weeks
  • Second Deadline for submitting model and renderings First deadline + 2 weeks
  • Jury meeting Late January, 2021
  • Project confirmation by European Parliament February – March 2021
  • Contract negotiation with Author of the confirmed concept March – April 2021
  • Design Development stage 12 months

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