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International Architecture Competition: European Parliament Building In Brussels

Belgium Architecture News - May 29, 2020 - 16:16   7149 views

International Architecture Competition: European Parliament Building In Brussels

The European Parliament has initiated an international design competition for the renewal of its plenary building (SPAAK), located in a complex in the centre of Brussels. The open pre-qualification procedure for the selection of competitors among candidates was launched on 26 May 2020. Architects interested in participating in the renewal of the SPAAK building are invited to apply. 

Organised by the European Parliament, the restricted international single stage design competitionwill be conducted according to the UNESCO Standard Regulations for International Competitions in Architecture and Town Planning and the UIA best practice recommendations. 

Competition organizers are looking for a sustainable approach with a strong emphasis on "operability, maintainability, flexibility and adaptability”. The new European Parliament should “incorporate best durability and sustainability practices with a considered balance between simplicity and thoughtful technology.”


The European Parliament will shortlist candidates (groups of architects, as lead members, together with structural engineers and environmental experts).

At the end of the pre-qualification procedure, the shortlisted candidates will be invited to submit their design proposals, which will then be evaluated by the jury. The jury will submit the list of winners to the European Parliament, along with its report for commissioning and recommendations for development following the competition.


The jury will comprise 11 voting jurors:

Rainer Wieland, Vice-President of the European Parliament
Pedro Silva Pereira, Vice-President of the European Parliament
Rudy Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region
Bety Waknine, Head of the Brussels Planning and Heritage Regional Public Service
Marilyne Andersen, Physicist and Environmental specialist, Lausanne, Switzerland
Kristiaan Borret, Urban Planner, BouwMeester Architect of the Brussels-Capital Region
Manuelle Gautrand, Architect, Paris, France
Dorte Mandrup, Architect, Copenhagen, Denmark
Carme Pigem, Architect, Olot, Spain
Kazuyo Sejima, Architect, Tokyo, Japan
Dimitri Tenezakis, Architect, Head of Luxembourg and Strasbourg Major Construction Projects Unit – DG INLO – European Parliament


Each competitor, preselected by the jury on the basis of their complete design project in compliance with the competition rules, will be granted the amount of EUR 75,000 (excluding VAT).

The jury will choose 5 laureates among the submitted design concepts, and will award prizes among them. The total prize money will amount to EUR 400,000 (excluding VAT).

The prizes will be the following:

1st prize : EUR 120,000
2nd prize : EUR 100,000
3rd prize : EUR 80,000
4th prize : EUR 60,000
5th prize : EUR 40,000


Period for Questions during Application Procedure (online forum): 24 June 2020

Deadline for application: 9 July 2020

Dispatching of invitations for the design competition: September 2020

Participants Colloquium: Date of invitation + 2 weeks

First Deadline for submitting projects: Date of invitation + 12 weeks

Second Deadline for submitting model and renderings: First deadline + 2 weeks 

Jury meeting: Late January 2021

Project confirmation by European Parliament: February - March 2021


Participation in this competition is open on the same terms to all natural or legal persons and public entities:
- from an EU Member State;
- from a third country which has a special agreement with the European Union in the field of public procurement;
- from a third country which has ratified the WTO Plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA);
- from a third country which is observer to WTO Plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA).

Important notice for British candidates:

Economic operators established in the United Kingdom are allowed to apply for this competition and to submit a draft if they are shortlisted. As the United Kingdom has withdrawn from the European Union, the rules on access to public procurement and competition procedures applicable to economic operators established in third countries will apply to economic operators established in the United Kingdom.


Such individuals shall be eligible to participate who, on the day of the announcement of the competition and pursuant to the legal provisions of their country of residence, are entitled to use the occupational title “Architect” according and work independently. Individuals from countries where the occupational title “Architect” is not subject to statutory regulations are eligible, provided that they hold a degree or submit any other evidence of formal qualification that is recognized in the EU under 2013/55/EU (EU Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications or prove of practice).

Eligible for participation are also architect consortia formed of individuals and legal entities that include at least one person eligible according to the previous paragraph. Legal entities are only eligible in such consortia if their statutory objectives include planning activities relevant to the competition task. Legal entities and architect consortia must name a single authorized representative who will be responsible for the fulfilling of the competition requirements according to the previous paragraph. The authorized representative as well as all authors of competition entries must meet the eligibility criteria applying to competitors. Notwithstanding the designation of a single authorized representative, each member of any consortia shall be jointly and severally liable for any submission from its consortium.

As part of the application the general planner (architect) was required to form a team with an engineer for structural design and environmental expert and name these partners.

Impediments to Participation

Ineligible for participation are those who, due to their collaboration in the preparation or running of the competition or preliminary studies, might be in a favoured position or able to influence the jury’s decision, including, without limitation, members of the jury and the promoters staff, employees and other permanent collaborators of participants as well as those who were involved with it in any way, as well as their spouses, first- and second-degree relatives or in-laws, their permanent business or project partners, and the immediate superiors and staff of ineligible persons.

Ineligible for participation through a separate entry are also a competitor’s non-permanent collaborators involved with the preparation of a competition entry as well as members of consortia. Ineligible for participation are also those having a business interest in the object of the competition beyond the scope of the competition’s planning services, if this is apt to influence bidding processes for services required for the physical implementation of the competition object.

Groups of economic operators may take part in this competition.

Groups of economic operators may take part in this competition. The European Parliament may accept various legal forms of groups. If an application is submitted by a group of economic operators, the legal representative of the group must be an architect. Pursuant to Article 6 of the Belgian Law of February 20, 1939, under which the profession of architect is incompatible with being a public or private works contractor, all public works contractors belonging to an economic group which has participated in this competition shall be excluded from participating in all public procurement procedures for works relating to the execution of the project for renewal of the Paul-Henri SPAAK building in Brussels.

Selection of competitors

Selection criteriaThe purpose of the pre-qualification procedure is to shortlist the candidates who will be invited to submit their design proposals during the design competition itself. During the pre-qualification procedure, the European Parliament will ensure that the shortlisted candidates are allowed to participate in the competition in light of the applicable rules and the scope of the competition, that they are not incurring in any of the exclusion situations as defined in the Financial Regulation (see below) and, that they have sufficient professional capacity to participate.

Provided that a sufficient number of applications has been submitted, at least 12 and at most 15 candidates will be shortlisted to participate in the competition. All applications from candidates who are not incurring in any of the exclusion situations referred to in Article II.2.1 of this document will be assessed according to the selection criteria set out below. 

Legal and regulatory capacity:

The applicants must have the legal and regulatory capacity to pursue the professional activity of architect, building services engineer or structural engineer in their country of establishment. The evidence of professional qualification/admission should be uploaded on the registration platform: Evidence of registration in a chamber of architects, or a chamber of engineers in their country of establishment or, in accordance with Directive 2005/36/EU “recognition of professional qualifications” as a subsequently amended, respective records of study and/or, as the case may be, any other evidence regarding such professional qualification or proof of practice. Instructions for filling in the forms are detailed in online manual provided on the application platform. Those documents must be attached to the application file, otherwise the application will be automatically rejected.

Evaluation process

Applications will be assessed by the European Parliament, represented by a selection committee. The selection committee is assisted by a technical committee which pre-evaluates the formal criteria and technical performance (criteria A and B1). In addition, the selection committee is advised in the evaluation of the design quality (criteria B2 and B3) by an expert jury consisting of two external architects, one engineer and two experts employed by the European Parliament.

Warning: Applications will be assessed based on the application file. Candidates will be required to provide and send information through specific forms.

A number of supporting documents must be attached to the application file. Further documents for the purpose of clarification may be requested by the European Parliament during the pre-selection procedure. Should candidates fail to submit the required supporting documents with their application file or fail to send the supporting documents requested by the European Parliament throughout the procedure within the set deadline, or should the documents submitted not be in accordance with their declarations, applications may be rejected. Candidates should note that certain documents and/or evidence must be attached to the application file, otherwise it will be automatically rejected. Those documents and/or evidence are specified below.

Read details about the competition on the website

Top image courtesy of European Parliament

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