An iconic image of the political dimension and a spectacular view, the architecture of the European Parliament symbolises the strength of the European Union and the openness of democracy, in a contextual building conceived as a powerful dialectic between nature and culture.
In addition to promoting Strasbourg as a European capital, the European Parliament building also symbolically reflect parliamentary activity and support its functional features. Located on a 360-meter shoreline, at the point where the River Ill joins the Rhine-Marne Canal, the building sublimates the river confluence in a perfect curve. A contextual building in the broadest sense, it celebrates the strength of union and the openness of democracy.
Conceived as a compound, the project must reflect and consolidate all the activities of the Parliament in one place. It includes a 750-seat chamber, 1133 offices for members of Parliament, 18 committee rooms from 50 to 350 seats, a research center and catering services. The building is structured according to three large intertwining patterns: the arch, the dome and the tower. These three landmark shapes, expressed in the overall volume on an immediate urban scale, are the structural implementation of the four major programmatic functions: the private activities of Parliament members, the public sections, the spaces devoted to the press and the catering services. These four paths, with independent access routes and precisely defined functions, are constantly intertwining and intersecting within a system of complete fluidity.
The European Parliament is a major identifiable reference point, whether directly or through its broadcast image, at city, European and world scale. The classical circular shape of the central tower incorporates a baroque-type elliptical courtyard, implying the transition from Galileo's circle to Kepler’s ellipse, from the symbol of centralism to a plurality of centers and from centralised power to a multi-polar European democracy. Following the curve of the River Ill, the glass façade reveals the structure of the assembly hall through the shape of the dome, using transparency as an architectural and political statement. Beyond its primary functions, the Parliament embodies powerful symbolism, attracting large numbers of Europeans coming to admire this showcase of total architecture at the service of the city, of politics and the entire Europe.