Foster + Partners commence work on ICÔNE, a new office building in Luxembourg

The layout of the building by Foster + Partners ensures a safe working environment, with its fluid internal spaces standing in contrast with the complex's formal façade in Belval.

by Meghna Mehta Published on : Jul 07, 2020

British architectural and design firm Foster + Partners recently started the construction of ICÔNE, a new office complex in Belval, Luxembourg in Europe. As the workspaces are being redefined in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the design of the building encourages a spirit of co-creation and collaboration. The Foster + Partners team has created a flexible and sensitive layout that addresses the need for safe working environment due to the challenges presented by COVID-19. The design also references the rich industrial heritage of Belval in Luxembourg, revitalising the area by creating a positive impact on its context.

The structural grid and fluid internal spaces that allow openness and interaction at all levels | Icône office complex | Foster + Partners | STIRworld
The structural grid and fluid internal spaces that allow openness and interaction at all levels Image Credit: Courtesy of Foster + Partners

“The atrium is a green light-filled space that is very much the social heart of the project, providing visual connectivity and a dynamic atmosphere for both work and play. Biophilia, the green landscaping, natural ventilation and visual connectivity all promoting collaboration and healthy wellbeing,” informs Darron Haylock, Partner, Foster + Partners.

A structural grid merging with the fluid internal spaces | Icône office complex | Foster + Partners | STIRworld
A structural grid merging with the fluid internal spaces Image Credit: Courtesy of Foster + Partners

The architectural design has been conceptualised to relate to the rich industrial context of the region and intends to activate a new plaza directly in front of the building. The complex provides flexible office spaces for new ways of working - co-working spaces and start-ups. The structural frame has been designed to allow for changing working patterns of the future focused on flexibility. The project once built, would be able to host one single tenant or up to 40 smaller tenants occupying 1,200 people and will be able to respond to the employment market over time in order to respond to the changing needs of the workplace.

The project is designed to have open, flexible workspaces that respond to the emerging models of work today. – Darron Haylock, Partner, Foster + Partners
The exterior is a dignified formal façade that interacts with the adjacent building, plazas and streets | Icône office complex | Foster + Partners | STIRworld
The exterior is a dignified formal façade that interacts with the adjacent building, plazas and streets Image Credit: Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Designed in collaboration with local practice Beiler Francois Fritsch, the 18,800 square-metre office building has been separated into two wings enclosing the central atrium. The structural grid in the atrium and the distinctive orthogonal façade emphasise on giving the office complex a unified industrial look. As a reference to the historicity of the city, a symbolic Belval blast furnace forms the central focus of the dramatic vista from the atrium.

The ICÔNE project has been punctured with multiple green spaces | Icône office complex | Foster + Partners | STIRworld
The ICÔNE project has been punctured with multiple green spaces Image Credit: Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Addressing the adjacent buildings became an integral part of the larger masterplan for the area. This has been done by incorporating various unique characteristics by aligning the principal axes to the east and west. The entrances to the building and complex have been tailored to accurately respond to the urban street and civic plaza. The building edge along Porte de France contains shops, while Place de l'Académie has been complemented by cafés and restaurants on the ground floor.

The development caters to the aspects of sustainability through a green roof, self-shading façade and other elements | Icône office complex | Foster + Partners | STIRworld
The development caters to the aspects of sustainability through a green roof, self-shading façade and other elements Image Credit: Courtesy of Foster + Partners

There is an interesting paradox between the interior and the exterior spaces. While externally the façade has a formal dignity, the internal spaces have a fluidity with open circulation, vibrancy, communal terraces and breakout spaces. The street and the plaza merge with the building atrium through a series of stepped terraces that create a distinctive arrival sequence.

The spaces allow for maximum daylight to reduce the use of artificial heating and cooling | Icône office complex | Foster + Partners | STIRworld
The spaces allow for maximum daylight to reduce the use of artificial heating and cooling Image Credit: Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Scooped out volumes and punctured spaces make way for green areas that refreshingly intersect the gridded structure. The office complex imbibes various elements of sustainability such as self-shading façade, exposed soffits to reduce cooling and heating demands, green roofs, landscaped spaces and water recycling. The façade has been designed as both structural and environmentally responsive, by providing an integrated solution which allows for internal column-free office spaces as well as solar shading and maximised internal daylight.

Project Details

Name: ICÔNE
Location: Belval, Luxembourg
Client: BESIX RED Luxembourg
Architect: Foster + Partners
Appointment: 2016
Expected completion date: 2021
Collaborating architect: Beiler François Fritsch
Foster + Partners team: Spencer de Grey, David Nelson, Stefan Behling, Darron Haylock, Matthew Hayhurst, Joana Santos, Dimitris Themelis, Apostolos Despotidis, Samson Simberg, Gavin Fung, Mohamad El Khayat, Anna Maria Malla
Structural engineers: NEY
Mechanical engineers: Greisch Luxembourg
Cost consultant: Q-Build Luxembourg
Masterplan landscaping: MDP
Lighting consultant: Greisch Luxembourg
Acoustic consultant: Tom Vandervorst, Venac
Contractor: Wust / Lux TP
Site area: 5,500 sqm
Gross area: 18,900 sqm
Net internal area: 13,000 sqm
Building dimensions (LxWxH): 81m x 56.7m x 30m
Capacity: 1,200 population
Floors: 6
Basements: 2

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