The ambitious winning design - which was unveiled in Kirchberg, Luxembourg today - is primarily steel and glass, and will showcase the diverse benefits of steel over other building materials* in addition to highlighting the use of steel in ‘green’, sustainable construction. As well as being ArcelorMittal’s headquarters, housing around 800 employees, some of the space will be leased for other uses. There will also be a restaurant, sports facility and a 200-seat auditorium available to the public.
W&A’s design responds to a detailed brief to design a modern, sustainable building that harnesses all the potential of steel from top to bottom. The result is a truly unique building that includes numerous design firsts, including innovative new products and features that are the result of a close collaboration between the designer and ArcelorMittal’s research and development teams. Technical innovations include:
- A fluid and flexible ground floor space featuring no columns, a feature that is only possible with steel due to the use of a suspended steel exoskeleton
- An integrated flooring system fully designed in steel which removes the need for false ceilings, resulting in high quality acoustics and improved aesthetics
- A curtain wall completely designed in steel which results in a lighter, more airy building due to steel’s higher strength and superior elasticity
- New section bars adapted from products designed for the automotive sector
The W&A design also responds to ArcelorMittal’s desire to have a sustainable building that promotes steel’s contribution to the circular economy. The building follows the “cradle-to-cradle” concept, meaning that it can be dismantled and nearly all the steel products re-used in a new building without the need for recycling.
The building is also a low-carbon, energy-efficient building and will be “BREEAM outstanding,” “DGNB Gold,” and “BBCA” certified. Environmental credentials include solar power generation – featuring 4000 square metres of ArcelorMIttal steel photo voltaic cells on the roof - rain water management, and automatic window opening for natural ventilation. It also features a bioclimatic public atrium, ventilated by a Canadian well system, which naturally cools the air in summer and heats it in winter. The atrium is designed to evoke the Luxembourg countryside and will feature trees and plants in a woodland style that will bring additional environmental benefits, acting as a buffer for the temperature. Further green space will be created by setting the building back from the limit of the plot, creating new outdoor public spaces. The building will also be certified by a Gold level “WELL” label. All of these features will serve to underpin ArcelorMittal’s commitment to sustainable development (SD) as encapsulated in our 10 SD outcomes, which are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Today’s announcement demonstrates in particular our commitment to creating sustainable infrastructure, our SD outcome 3 (aligned with SDG 11), and our determination to become a responsible energy user that contributes to a low carbon future – our SD outcome 6 (aligned with SDG 13).
Speaking in Luxembourg at an event to announce the winner, Aditya Mittal, chairman of the jury, said: “Taking the decision to invest in a new headquarters shows ArcelorMittal’s long-term commitment to Luxembourg. As the world’s leading steel company, it is also a great opportunity to have a new headquarters that showcases the flexibility, creativity and sustainability of steel as a construction material. All the architects that participated in the competition submitted interesting designs and on behalf of my colleagues on the jury, I would like to thank them all for their creativity. Ultimately though we could only select one project and W&A stood out for their complete respect of every aspect of our brief, including practicality, aesthetics, economics and sustainability, as well as their enthusiastic engagement with our R&D team. They have developed a truly innovative design. What I personally love is that this building shows the beauty of steel, which is so often hidden from view. In fact, we believe that no other building of this size and scale has been designed specifically to feature steel throughout. And, equally important, it will be a great place to work for our employees, a fantastic platform to show our customers what steel can do and an exceptional open space for visitors to this part of the city.”
Jean-Michel Wilmotte, Architect, President of W&A, said: “To be asked to design a new steel-based headquarters for the world’s leading steel company is an important commission. I love working with steel and am confident that we have developed a design that will showcase the very best of the material. I am particularly excited about the ambition of the building, which is to show how creativity, coupled with modern techniques, can advance the sustainability, economics, and practicality of modern office building design and so improve the lives of those who work and interact with it. I hope that the employees of ArcelorMittal will be proud of the building and will enjoy coming to work there for many years and decades to come.”
Michel Wurth, President of ArcelorMittal Luxembourg, added: “As a Luxemburger, I’m proud and excited that such a forward-thinking design will be built here largely with steel made in Luxembourg. Our steel features in so many iconic buildings around the world, it’s great to have an opportunity to create another one here in our home country. I believe W&A’s design fully captures the atmosphere of tomorrow which is appropriate for ArcelorMittal as a company on the cutting edge of its industry and will also provide a great place for our employees to work. It will be a new addition to the Kirchberg plateau and of course we will work closely work with the municipality of Luxembourg during the planning phase to fully integrate this new building into the already iconic urban landscape and skyline.“
The consultation was initiated in February 2017 following ArcelorMittal’s decision in April 2016 to build a new head office in Luxembourg. ArcelorMittal is the principal industrial employer of the Grand Duchy with over 4,000 employees. The construction of a new, landmark headquarters building illustrates the Group’s commitment to maintaining its presence in the country, where the company has not only its head offices, but also seven industrial sites producing or processing steel, and developing steel solutions for the construction, automotive, general industry and agriculture sectors of the economy.
In the first phase, eight internationally renowned practices were invited to submit initial designs on April 27 and 28. Bernard Tschumi Architects, Foster + Partners, JSWD Architekten, Massimiliano Fuksas Architecture, Rafael Vinoly Architects, Rem Koolhaas OMA, Von Gerkan, Marg and Partners and Wilmotte & Associés were the architects included. In the second phase, three shortlisted practices – Foster + Partners, Rem Koolhaas OMA, and Wilmotte & Associés - were asked to develop a more advanced architectural design. These were then submitted to the jury which evaluated the proposals and then recommended Wilmotte & Associés to ArcelorMittal and to the Board of Fonds Kirchberg as the selected winner.
Groundbreaking is expected during the summer of 2019 with completion in the last quarter of 2021
*This includes the ability to include additional storeys without compromising ceiling height, due to reduced floor thicknesses; fewer internal columns due to the strength of the most modern steel beams, permitting more flexible internal layouts; and, due to the lighter weight of steel buildings as opposed to those using conventional materials, less deep foundations, bringing timing and cost benefits. Use of steel also brings efficiency to site operations given that even the most complex forms are pre-fabricated off site and only come to site for assembly. Compared to traditional construction methods, this saves time and manpower on site, and lessens road congestion caused by deliveries.
Glossary of Terms
- Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is the method of assessing the environmental behavior of buildings developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), a private UK building research firm.
- The DGNB System provides an objective description and assessment of the sustainability of buildings and urban districts. If a performance requirement is met, the DGNB awards the DGNB certificate in bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
- The BBCA label testifies to the exemplary of a building in terms of carbon footprint. The label includes three levels of performance: Standard, Performance, Excellence.
- The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) consists of features across the seven concepts (air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind) that comprehensively address not only the design and operations of buildings, but also how they impact and influence human behaviors related to health and well-being.