Daniel Libeskind’s recently completed Congres Centre, in Mons, Belgium, has opened its doors just in time to kick off the city’s year of festivities as the 2015 European Capital of Culture. The new convention center bears the architect’s signature jagged style, featuring two sharp protruding and overlapping volumes, and is designed “as a new architectural landmark for Mons” and “connector between the old and the new,” explained Studio Libeskind in a statement.
On the exterior, a band of anodized aluminum sits atop and intersects the lower section, resembling a hull of a ship. The lower walls are clad with a vertical framework of robinia wood. On top of the roughly 41,010-square-foot building, a steel viewing platform provides views of the medieval town center as well as the new Calatrava-designed train station in the new “Grands Pres” neighborhood.
Inside, there are three auditoriums, ranging in size and capacity from a larger 500-seat hall to a more intimate space with 100 seats—all outfitted with bright orange Tangram seats. An entrance hall dubbed the “Forum” can hold exhibitions and special events, and feature narrow skylights—another Libeskind trademark—which crisscross the ceiling to let in “shifting patterns of natural illumination.” The complex will also include a 4,000-square-foot multi-event space and 16 meeting rooms of various size.