in 2017, a team comprising portuguese architect eduardo souto de moura and antwerp-based firm META architectuurbureau was selected to design a new meeting and convention center in the belgian city of bruges. construction work began in 2019, with a new video (shown below) documenting the site’s current status. the scheme will replace the now demolished trade fair and exhibition hall, which no longer met the city’s event-hosting needs.
all images and video courtesy by infunctievan
eduardo souto de moura and META’s design retains the 38 trees that occupy the site, while integrating with the city’s wider urban fabric. the design team conceived the project as a covered square that is capable of hosting a variety of events, such as trade fairs and concerts, as well as spontaneous happenings open to all passersby. externally, the building appears as a robust and solid structure made of recycled brick. the entire building rests on what the architects describe as a ‘glass pedestal’, which blurs the division between interior and exterior at ground level.
although they share a common entrance, the exhibition hall is organized horizontally, while the congress center is stacked vertically. features of the building include, a divisible auditorium with retractable tiered seating, as well as eight meeting rooms that can be reconfigured to result in 12 private spaces. meanwhile, a dining and catering space spills out onto a terrace with views across the bruges skyline. the complex includes underground parking for 200 bicycles and 124 vehicles. the bruges meeting and convention center is scheduled to open in january 2022.