European Investment Bank Luxembourg
A horizontal skyscraper on the Kirchberg plateau
In 2002, ingenhoven architects won the international competition for the extension of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in Luxembourg. The main characteristics of this new building, which give the Bank a new identity, are its transparency and awareness of environmental concerns and energy conservation. In addition, the skyscraper system has been reinterpreted in this project. Even though the building that houses the EIB extension has the proportions of a high-rise, it has been placed on its side at ground level and is covered by a large vaulted glass envelope measuring approx. 13,000 square meters.
The EIB building at the edge of the Kirchberg plateau, an area known for its European authorities, banks, and cultural venues designed by well-known architects, is laid out in accordance with the urban development plan established by Ricardo Bofill. One of the two straight facades of the new building faces Boulevard Kirchberg, while the curved glass roof links the building with the valley side and its landscape features. The design references the landscape with internal atriums and continues the lay of the land by terracing the halls, restaurants, conference rooms, and public facilities. The glass envelope acts as an umbrella over the dynamic V-shaped office tracts, which are linked via triangular atriums and conservatories.
The partially temperature-controlled atriums function as heat buffers and thereby play an important role in the internal climate concept. The openings in the glass roof help to control the temperature in the atriums. The atriums can be used by staff to relax; they also provide natural ventilation to the offices and thereby contribute to a reduction in energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
With their flexible layout, spaces on the office floors are easily reversible and provide non-hierarchical workplaces. Because no suspended ceilings were installed, it was possible to use the concrete decks as heat storage elements. The use of natural materials such as wood in the interior fit-out underscores the impression of a sustainable and transparent building. Open areas and break spaces encourage communication amongst staff. In spite of its size, the building is characterized by light-heartedness and a human scale.
The European Investment Bank, which was founded in 1958 in order to contribute to the funding of the European Union’s investments, has expanded its activities from 2000 onwards. ingenhoven architects has succeeded in creating a benchmark extension building to add to the existing ensemble, which was constructed in Luxembourg’s European Quarter in 1980 and designed by British architect Denys Lasdun in his later years. The EIB office building is the first building on the European continent to receive the British BREEAM "Excellent" certificate (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). Thus, a unique architectural statement has been added to the Luxembourg Kirchberg plateau.