“Communicating on another level”

Ben van Berkel
Founder/Principal Architect UNStudio

I have been coming to visit family in Brussels for years. During my many strolls, I got to know the city and became familiar with the atmosphere and architecture.  These wanderings through Brussels were a good source of inspiration when I had to design a major construction project for a vacant plot of land. ProWinko aspired to erect a building with a clear statement: characteristic and decorative with extensive power of attraction. That was my vision too. You have to tackle such a major construction project at such a location as a public undertaking. That is where you re-inject the DNA of the city.  In my design, I have reworked forms from art nouveau in a new way. The result is a new, surprising play of line that fits in with the architectural tradition of Brussels, whilst being abstract and contemporary. If you ask people what they see in it, you always get a different answer. Everyone has his own “reading.”  Architecture on this location is like communicating on another level – to surprise and intrigue people; make sure that they like to come and that they keep a fond memory of it.

UNStudio is famous throughout the world for its unique and pioneering projects in Europe and Asia, such as the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, the Qatar metro and the Galeria Department Stores in South Korea.