The new all-in-one concept
A place to work, relax and have fun
The Royale Belge is a mixed office, hotel and meeting facilities development where you can also enjoy a wide range of luxury wellness, sports facilities, bars and restaurants. This iconic building offers a wide range of top-flight services to satisfy the most discerning clients.
The Royale Belge lies at the edge of the Sonian Forest and is integrated into an 8-hectare park in an exceptional green setting right next to Tenreuken park. The Royale Belge is located along a landscape promenade following the Boulevard du Souverain. Several sections of the promenade are parts of the Brussels Region green walk.
With a growing headcount and flourishing business during the 1960s, Royale Belge had a space problem: their offices in central Brussels could no longer keep pace with their ambitions. A relocation of 1600 employees to the city outskirts was not a project to undertake lightly, but the management were keen to innovate. They needed a design which would not only look good, but be pleasant to work in. It had to win support, generate enthusiasm for the move and turn the project into a team-building exercise in its own right.
For Royale Belge, R. Stapels and P. Dufau were a natural choice as architects. The company was eager to stand out and create a timeless building in resolutely modern style. As the designers of the Belgian pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, the twosome were famous for their expertise and for their ambitious projects. Pour cette œuvre cruciforme, ils se sont inspirés du siège de John Deere, basé dans l’Illinois aux Etats-Unis.
The outstanding site was viewed as the canvas on which the architectural work would take shape. No effort was spared to exploit the natural setting. Lakes reflect the mood of the sky and playfully mirror the building. Glazed expanses give you the sense of being part of the natural world, while the terraces offer an outdoor experience while maintaining home comforts.
The architects opted for a layout in the shape of a cross which would make the most of the ample 8 hectares of land. It took 2,566 tonnes of steel to erect the carcass of the building (more than the Eiffel Tower), and 14,000 square metres of glass façade was fitted to immerse visitors in the natural surroundings. The figures, commensurate with the large scale of this project, speak for themselves.
The building’s original interior décor featured clear, low lines, interlaced with bare concrete and furnished in minimalist fashion, all forming a continuum with its modern architecture. A unique work by the French artist Pierre Sabatier surrounds the auditorium. 800 square metres of pewter forms a huge wall which no visitor to the building, facing it on arrival, will ever forget.
The Royale Belge – later AXA -, surrounded by a renowned team, took up the challenge of building an iconic site with a timeless aura for its head office in just three years.
The setting blends in with the breathtaking view of the exteriors. Therefore the AXA team was immersed in a serene universe conducive to collaboration, productivity and well-being.
It was included on the Belgian heritage preservation list in 2019.