Space-age passerelle opens between federal parliament buildings
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Space-age passerelle opens between federal parliament buildings

The new passerelle. © Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga

Today saw the inauguration of a new passage suspended between the federal parliament building that houses the House and the Senate, and office buildings across the road on Rue de Louvain.

The passerelle joins the 18th/19th century Palace of the Nation, which fronts on to Rue de la Loi and the Royal Park, with the less ceremonial and more practical Forum, completed in 2016 and providing office space for members and staff, as well as committee rooms.

The design, by architects Kersten Geers David Van Severen (KGDVS), takes the form of a circular structure with a mirrored surface and a space in the middle, looking for all the world like a gigantic roll of silver gaffer tape. Slightly angled at 4°, it joins the two different levels, from the second floor of the Palace of the Nation to the first floor of the Forum.

De Standaard has posted a timelapse video of the construction of the passerelle here.

The new structure will make it possible for members to pass from one building to the other without going outdoors, which is a consideration not only because of the Brussels weather, but also from a point of view of security.

The architects, selected after an international competition as required by law, have called the bridge Tondo, in reference to the circular Renaissance paintings often used for portraits of a loved one.

Structurally, the bridge can be described as a stiff disc, the roof, on which the floor hangs with a minimal presence of structure: a near ephemeral pavilion between the buildings,” as KGDVS describes the work.

Viewed from above, however, the sculptural beam form of the structure is visible: an ‘eye’ on the world.” (see below)

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times