European Investment Bank
The “European Investment Bank (EIB)”, founded in 1958 to support the financing of investments by the European Union (EU), has extended its activities during recent years. The existing building, a late work of British architect Denys Lasdun built in 1980 in the European quarter in Luxembourg, needed an extension. In 2002 an international competition was launched, which ingenhoven architects won. Environmental and energy concerns as well as transparency are key features of the new construction, giving the bank a new identity.
Sitting on the edge of the Kirchberg Plateau, the design of the EIB follows the citadel master plan from Ricardo Bofill by clearly addressing the city side with a straight façade to the Boulevard Kirchberg, while a curved glass roof connects the building with the landscape on the valley side. The long tube has the proportions of a “horizontal skyscraper” and is covered by a curved glass vault some 13,000 sq m in size, making it a unique building in the context of the Kirchberg Plateau.
The construction connects the landscape with the atria inside and continues the different heights of the surrounding topography in the terraced outside. The envelope spans the atria with interconnected V-shaped office wings, set against one another so that triangular atria are created.
The atria, some of which are tempered while others are not, play a central role for the climatic concept of the building by acting as thermal buffers. Openings in the glass roofs help controlling the temperature within the atria. They are nice places to stay and allow for the natural ventilation of the offices throughout the year thus reducing the energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
The design of the office floors allows for simple reversibility and egalitarian, flexible workspaces. There are no suspended ceilings so that the concrete slabs can be used as a thermal storage. The use of natural materials such as wood for the inner façade gives the building an expression of sustainability and transparency. Open meeting points and break rooms support the communication amongst employees. The building maintains an easy manageability and human scale despite its size.
The EIB-building is the first in continental Europe that was certified as “excellent” in the British BREEAM rating system (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method).