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In 1995, the city of Luxembourg was European Capital of Culture. The event was an immense success. It contributed considerably to improving the international image of the city and indeed the entire country. The interest in cultural affairs rose.

The Luxembourg government faced the challenge to build on that momentum. To provide the country with new cultural infrastructures became absolute priority.

Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art, Museum of the Fortress, Neumünster Abbey Cultural and Meeting Centre, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte Concert Hall, Centre for Amplified Music, National Audiovisual Centre, National Archives, National Centre for Industrial Culture, the Rotondas, National Library and so on, all these dreams are becoming reality by virtue of a global investment of some 450 million euros.

A project for society

1995-2007. Twice in twelve years Luxembourg will have been and will be European Capital of Culture. Between these two years, the cultural landscape of Luxembourg will have witnessed great changes, in particular with the construction and opening of the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art, the Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte Philharmonic Hall and the Centre for Amplified Music (Rockhal), three modern facilities to which should be added the Neumünster Abbey, the Museum of the Fortress and the National Audiovisual Centre, not forgetting other establishments such as the Kirchberg Sports and Cultural Centre (Coque), the National Centre for Literature, the National Museum of Natural History (natur musée) and the National Museum of History and Art.

The Luxembourg Government has had no lack of cultural infrastructure projects, but they have not all been implemented with alacrity. From 1988 a working party has contemplated the opportunity of constructing a centre for contemporary art. In 1989 the creation of a museum of modern art appeared in the Government manifesto. When, in 1995, the capital became European Capital of Culture, the entire country was made aware of the tardiness in matters of cultural infrastructure and the considerable enthusiasm of the Luxembourg public for all forms of culture. By financing 25% of the total budget for the event, the private partnership proved its commitment to supporting cultural development.

In the momentum arising from the passions and emotions of 1995, several major projects have been either redefined, reactivated or set in motion. After having fought to capture or preserve its sovereignty, after having guaranteed its population a minimum of social well-being, a new priority has emerged: culture. “We must offer the extremely diverse elements of the Luxembourg community (more than 38% “nonnationals”) a cultural project capable of consolidating true social cohesion and prove that an identity is not diluted by opening up to other cultures, but on the contrary may be enhanced and enriched by sharing. In order to benefit from efficient cultural projects, the Grand Duchy has undertaken a vast and ambitious programme to implement cultural projects,” explained Mrs Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, former Minister of Culture for 10 years and Minister of Public Works. She wears both hats in these complex, imposing and indeed fascinating projects. By investing 450 million euros, Government is bestowing a new cultural visage on the country. It is also a wager on the future, on Europe and on mankind, a triple bet the Minister makes and which she describes as: “It is at this modest price in comparison to the catastrophic damage caused by barbarity at the dawn of the 21st century that our society will be wary of the unfortunate confusion between the auxiliaries ‘have’ and ‘be’”.

Culture invades the Kirchberg

In Luxembourg-City, it is on the Kirchberg Plateau that culture has exploded with the establishment of the Philharmonic Hall, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the Fortress, the Coque Sports and Cultural Centre, and the imminent move of the National Library.

In 1952, when Luxembourg became the provisional seat of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the authorities decided to exploit the Kirchberg Plateau. The audacious construction of the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge rapidly transformed the verdant meadows (360 hectares or a seventh of the area of the Capital) into a resolutely modern quarter. There are residential developments, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, shops, banks, offices, schools and more. There are also sports facilities, with the Olympic Pool and the Coque. Moreover there will soon be numerous cultural institutions. We can therefore say that some had wrongly predicted that the Kirchberg would be reduced solely to its European institutions.

To the left and right of the Avenue J.F. Kennedy rise the two towers (70 metres high) of the Porte de l’Europe. The design of these 19-storey office blocks was laid out by the Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill. Inspired by the Italian piazza, his Barcelona office, the Taller de Arquitectura, drew up the plans for the Place de l’Europe. It is triangular, bordered by the Bâtiment Tour (built in 1964-66 to the plans of the Luxembourg architects Gaston Witry and Michel Mousel) and the Bâtiment Robert Schuman (1970-73, Laurent Schmit, architect). This is the location for the Philharmonia by the French architect Christian de Portzamparc. A stone’s throw away work is in progress on the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art, to the plans of the Sino-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei, and the Museum of the Fortress (architects Jean-Michel Wilmotte, Roby Becker and Gilles Dansart). Close by, the Coque now adjoins the Olympic Pool, and by 2010 the National Library will have moved to the Bâtiment Robert Schuman.

Architect of the Museum of Modern Art

Pei, fan of old stones

Born in Canton in 1917, Ieoh Ming Pei arrived in the United States in 1935 to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he obtained a Diploma in Architecture in 1940. He continued his studies at Harvard University (Master’s Degree in 1942 and Doctorate in 1946). After obtaining American citizenship in 1954, he established I.M.Pei & Associates in 1955. Drawing his inspiration from the domestic architecture of south-west China where he spent his childhood, and relying on his experience as an engineer, Pei realised his first major architecture projects in the United States with the National Center for Atmospheric Research at Boulder, Colorado (1961-67), the J.F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts (1965-79) and the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington (1968-78).

He was practically unknown in France when he was chosen in 1983 to reorganise the reception and circulation at the Louvre Museum. By building the “Grand Louvre”, in particular with its famous (and once controversial) pyramid, Pei gained a reputation in Europe when already a master in the United States, China (Hotel of the Perfumed Hills in Peking) and Hong Kong (Bank of China Tower, the largest building in Asia).

The projects and distinctions achieved by Pei are counted in hundreds around the world. Having retired from Pei Cobb Freed & Partners at the end of 1990, he nonetheless continues to devote himself to certain projects which he finds of personal interest. That is the case with the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art set in the former Fort Thüngen, as it is for the German History Museum in Berlin which is about to open.

Like for the Louvre, Pei could not resist these 17th century fortifications which survived the dismantling of the fortress in 1867. An admirer of Vauban (1633-1707) who built the exterior of the fort, he wanted to “make the old stones speak, to bring them to life. The only way to bring stones to life is by taking human beings to them”.

Pei’s aspiration for the MUDAM was to “reconcile past and present”, in such a manner that “they strengthen each other”. The walls of the fortification have been dismantled to be rebuilt identically in order to be reinforced. The old setting serves as a foundation for the new building which follows the triangular design of Fort Thüngen from which it rises.

Built of Burgundy stone, the MUDAM integrates a metal and glass structure the peak of which will soar thirty-five metres into the sky. Supervised by the Luxembourg architect Georges Reuter, work should be completed in the autumn of 2005.

Notes and paintings

77 million euros for one, 78 for the other. The Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art and the Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte Concert Hall play in the same category. They are both cultural heavyweights rising from the ground, growing and monopolising attention, just a few metres apart.

Designed by the architect Ieoh Ming Pei, the Museum of Modern Art (with a surface area of more than 10,000 m2) houses six large halls, two of which have the advantage of zenithal natural light, and a space reserved for sculpture. They provide 3,000 m2 for the presentation of temporary exhibitions and a collection dedicated to contemporary art. The geometry of the interior spaces is emphasised by five stairways serving three levels, containing vast halls and foyers, studios, stores, an auditorium, a library and educational services.

Assisted by an international committee of experts, the former Director Marie-Claude Beaud (appointed in January 2000) presented the concept of MUDAM and started a collection in the years 2002 and 2003. In order to create and administer the Museum, which opened its doors in 2005, Government formed the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art Foundation, its board of directors is chaired by Jacques Santer, former Prime Minister and President of the European Commission and now Member of the European Parliament.

Designed by Christian de Portzamparc, the Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte Philharmonic Hall is beating to the rhythm of its heart, the grand auditorium. This boasts some 1,226 seats (1,506 at a maximum), with boxes on its two larger sides. There is also a hall for chamber music (seating for 300) and one for electronic-acoustic music (120 seats). When realising this project, particular attention has been paid to acoustics.

The new Philharmonic Hall provides a venue for performances by the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), directed by Emmanuel Krivine, and other orchestras of international renown. It is run by a Director General, the Austrian Matthias Naske (tbc), appointed in January 2003. Management and promotion of the LPO will be within the competence of the Henri Pensis Foundation.

Luxembourg National Library

In the Schuman Building before 2010

The initial idea was to build an annex to the National Library, housed since 1973 within the renovated walls of the former Grand Ducal Grammar School. But a library on two sites would have multiplied both costs and constraints.As the Robert Schuman Building on the Kirchberg was to be free, the government took the decision to transfer the National Library there, and to group the six sections of the Grand Ducal Institute as well as the Library of Prehistory in the same building.

Will the Robert Schuman Building be entirely destroyed or only partially? Will it be subject to rebuilding? The decision is taken: the project created by the German firm of architects “Bolles - Wilson Gmbh & Co. KG” retained by an international jury will preserve a maximum of the former structure: the work should be completed before 2010.

The National Library is guardian of Luxembourg’s printed heritage. It collects all the publications printed and edited in Luxembourg. It purchases publications relating to Luxembourg or of which the author is from Luxembourg but are edited abroad. 150,000 volumes as well as 3,000 titles of periodicals are preserved in the Luxemburgensia department.

The National Library is also the largest scientific library in Luxembourg. All disciplines are represented there. The General Fund makes some 750,000 volumes available to readers, and 3,500 titles of international periodicals in all disciplines. 30,000 volumes are in free access in the reading and reference rooms. The General Fund grows annually by approximately 10,000 volumes.

History is not forgotten

It is not only music and painting upon which fortune smiles. A place of communication, explanation and interpretation, a place of memory and of history, the Museum of the Fortress will be one of the vital aspects of the Vauban Walk. After viewing contemporary art at the MUDAM, the visitor can step straight into Luxembourg’s past. The Museum of the Fortress traces the history of the fortress from the 16th century to its dismantling in 1870-76, in particular with a tour concentrating on the defensive works, weapons and the engineers who built it.

The interior layout, design of the show cases and lighting are the work of the Paris architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, who also worked with Pei at the Louvre. The fabric is designed by the Luxembourg architects Robert Decker and Gilles Dansart. The Museum of the Fortress opened in 2004, with a final cost of 30 million euros. Government has also passed a draft bill relating to the restoration, partial reconstruction and enhancement of some of the remains of the former fortress of Luxembourg: the old Berlaimont Bastion and the Porte d’Eich, Porte des Bons-Malades, Fort Niedergrünewald, parts of the Pfaffenthal, Fort Obergrünewald and military installations close to Fort Thüngen.

Another bill passed by Parliament provides for the development of the Dräi Eechelen Park, according to the plans of Michel Desvigne. The area surrounding the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of the Fortress will become a public park.

Permanently open to the public, the suggested landscape will respect and unify old and new constructions without additional architectural work, maintaining the panoramic view of the old city.

Identity and multiculturalism

At the heart of the old city, in the part entered in the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Ministry of Culture is transforming the buildings of the former Neumünster Abbey (built in 1606) into a cultural centre and meeting place. A network links such centres throughout Europe. As places for cultural exchange, the aim of these centres is “to associate local processes with a vaster horizon, to explore differences as blessings, to work as a network, to circulate and to exchange ideas, so that the entity be more than the sum of all its parts,” as described by Jacques Rigaud.

Directed by Claude Frisoni (tbc) since February 2002, it is a place of multi-disciplinary artistic creation to the maxim “Identity and Multiculturalism”. Covering an area of more than 12,000 m2, the institution has the most modern infrastructure (conference hall with simultaneous translation facilities, theatre, exhibition spaces, media library, studios for resident artists and so on). It enables local and international cultural actors to exchange ideas, experiences and the fruits of their research.

Located on the banks of the River Alzette, in the old suburb of Grund in the city of Luxembourg, Neumünster Abbey is on the itinerary of the Wenceslas Walk. Over the centuries it served as a prison, and during the Nazi occupation it was a transit point for the many Luxembourg citizens deported as forced labour. It ceased to be a place of detention in the mid-1980s. At a total cost of 39 million euros, renovation work has remained faithful to the spirit of the building.

The Robert Bruch Building which has since 13 October 2003 housed the Pierre Werner Tri-national Institute (Luxembourg, Germany, France) welcomed the Council of Europe Institute of Cultural Itineraries in the spring of 2004; the Robert Krieps Building opened at the end of 2003, and the rest of the Centre in May 2004.

Architect of the Coque

Roger Taillibert, the father of the Parc des Princes

French architect Roger Taillibert established his own firm in Paris in 1963. When he was chosen to design the new stadium for the Parc des Princes, he was comparatively unknown. He removed the cycle and athletics tracks to build the stadium. He also created cells of glass offering total visibility and reserved for media commentators, while setting up cameras on suspended platforms so they could have complete coverage of the pitch. Work started in 1969 and the new stadium was officially opened by the President of the Republic of France, Georges Pompidou, on 4 June 1972.The new stadium (seating for 48,527 spectators) is a great oval covered by a monumental cantilevered canopy. The temple of football and rugby, with the construction of the Stade de France, the Parc des Princes is a showplace for major events as well as the cradle of Paris Saint-Germain.

Then the career of Roger Taillibert took on an international dimension.

On 6 April 1972, Montreal was chosen to hold the 1976 Olympic Games. Specialist in the development of sports facilities, Roger Taillibert was put in charge of drawing up a general project intended to integrate a large stadium with 50,000 seats usable at all times of the year (and transformable at little cost into a baseball stadium), a swimming centre, a cycle track and all the ancillary facilities. He designed a homogenous ensemble consisting of three different but interwoven elements: the annular form of the stadium, the central mast (168 metres high and 65 metres of cantilever to its base) and the spherical vaulting of the cycle track. Today still, the Olympic Stadium in Montreal is a must of its genre.

In Luxembourg, Roger Taillibert built two sports centres on the Kirchberg. Opened in 1982, the Olympic Pool is marked by its characteristic boat-like roofs, composed of 99-metre concrete shells. For the neighbouring Cultural and Sports Centre, for which the first sod was turned on 15 December 1997, Roger Taillibert used a similar code of forms for the roof. This time he abandoned the concrete shells for laminated timber.The copper roofs (with a surface area of 20,800 m2) cover the six shells of the ensemble.The National Sports and Cultural Centre was inaugurated on 8 June 2002. It cost 75 million euros and is called the Coque.

Culture on the move

National Literature Centre

Housed in the former Maison Servais in Mersch, the National Literature Centre opened in 1995. It is a centre for documentary research into Luxembourg literature, in Lëtzebuergësch, German, French and other languages from 1815 until now.

Casino Luxembourg - Forum for Contemporary Art

In the heart of the city of Luxembourg a 19th century building, the former “Casino bourgeois”, was converted into an exhibition centre in 1994. It is the first Luxembourg cultural institution of the Kunsthalle type.

National Museum of Natural History –natur musée

In the Grund, a suburb of the city of Luxembourg, the Saint-Jean Hospice (once a hospital and then a women’s prison) has since 1996 housed the National Museum of Natural History. A window on the landscape and regions of Luxembourg, the natur muse participates in preserving the natural heritage.


The renovation of the buildings of this former abattoir started in January 1997. Reopened on 2 October 1998, the Kulturfabrik in Esch-sur-Alzette is a selfmanaged cultural centre consisting of 7 buildings spread over an area of 4,000 m2.

National Museum of History and Art

After the creation of the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of History and Art was enlarged and rebuilt. Located in the Marchéaux-Poissons, in the city of Luxembourg, it owns rich and varied collections, from archaeology through ancient and decorative arts to contemporary art.

The Coque

Situated on the Kirchberg Plateau in the city of Luxembourg, the National Sports and Cultural Centre opened on 8 June 2002.A sports and concert hall, the Coque can be altered on a modular basis to accommodate an audience of 1,000 to 8,000.

CFL Rotunda

At the rear of the main railway station in the city of Luxembourg, the first CFL Rotunda is in the process of being restored by the Service des sites et monuments nationaux (National Historic Monuments Department). A working party is currently drawing up an experimental programme for the next two years. In time, the second rotunda will be restored.

Neumünster Abbey Cultural and Meeting Centre

Since 2004, the buildings of the former Neumünster Abbey (built in 1606) has been housing a vast cultural and meeting centre at the very heart of the old city. With an area of more than 12,000 m2, this institution has the most modern infrastructures. It is a place of artistic creation on the theme of “Identity and Multiculturalism”. The Robert Bruch Hall (former military hospital) houses the “tri-national” Pierre Werner Institute (France, Germany, Luxembourg) and also the European Institute of Cultural Itineraries of the Council of Europe.

Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art

Located on the exceptional site of Fort Thüngen, the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art, designed by the Sino-American architect I.M. Pei, boasts an area of more than 10,000 m2, of which 3,000 m2 is reserved for permanent exhibitions of contemporaryworks (paintings and sculptures). Its international vocation follows the logic of the European development of the Grand Duchy and its Capital. The MUDAM opened in 2005.

Museum of the Fortress

The Fortress is the symbol of centuries of history of the City, the country and indeed of Europe. Located on the site of the Dräi Eechelen (Three Acorns) in the city of Luxembourg, the Museum of the Fortress will be a symbolic link between the new quarter of the Kirchberg and the old part of the city of Luxembourg. A place of communication, explanation and interpretation, this museum will enhance the historico-cultural walks in the footsteps of Vauban and Wenceslas.

Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte Concert Hall

The project to have a new concert hall built dates back to 1996. Designed by the architect Christian de Portzamparc, this new hall has an auditorium with 1,200 to 1,500 seats, a chamber music room with seating for 300 and a room for electronic-acoustic music with 120 seats.The opening concert was held on Sunday 26 June 2005. The hall is the base for the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra and its one hundred musicians.

National Audiovisual Centre

Since its origins, the NAC has become a popular place among professionals of image and sound. The design of the new building, housing both the NAC and the Dudelange Cultural Centre, provides specific structures for each service as well as common features oriented through the latest technology towards the general public and a cinema with 153 seats.

National Library

Rather than build an annex to the present National Library located on the Rue Notre-Dame in the city of Luxembourg, Government decided to house all its departments in the Robert Schuman Building on Kirchberg.

Cité des sciences

This leading project for the development of industrial wasteland at Belval-Ouest in Esch-sur-Alzette is also a cultural project, relying on a century of steel industry history to build for a promising future. On the site, the two remaining blast furnaces will be restored to their former glory in a vast and complex project led by Fonds Belval. The project involving the Cité of science, research and innovation revolves around the future University of Luxembourg, with the National Centre for Industrial Culture, the National Archives and the Rockhal.

Centre for Amplified Music (Rockhal)

On the industrial wasteland at Esch-Belval, the Rockhal will consist of two concert halls: a large hall with 4,000 seats which can open up for 10,000 spectators and a smaller hall with seating for 500. The CAM will also contain rehearsal rooms, a recording studio and a multimedia documentation centre. Work should be completed in 2006.

National Archives

Currently housed on the St-Esprit Plateau (Luxembourg- City), in a former military barracks, the National Archives will be rehoused in a new building on industrial wasteland at Esch-Belval. There will also be an architectural documentation centre.

In the south

Not all the new cultural infrastructures are in the capital. The south of the country also gets its share, in various genres. The Centre for Amplified Music (CAM), for instance, was built in Esch-Belval.

In Luxembourg there is no large concert hall like the Galaxie in Amnéville, the Zénith in Nancy, the Neufang-Kulturfabrik in Saarbrücken or the Europa-Halle in Trier. It is specifically to remedy that situation that the CAM, or Rockhal, will be integrated into the urban concept of Belval-Ouest.

The Centre for Amplified Music is primarily a performance venue, but there are also facilities for rehearsals, creation, training, meetings, information, exchanges and thought. Construction work on the CAM began on 21 July 2003 and the opening took place in September 2005.

The CAM is located where blast furnaces once belched fire and smoke, and where the Cité des sciences is being built, as well as the future National Centre for Industrial Culture.This will not only allow the remains of the steel industry’s golden age (notably the two furnaces) to be preserved, but also the creation of a social, cultural and scientific centre integrated into the everyday life of the new town emerging at Belval-Ouest. The NCIC will also carry out research work in the field of industrial history and archaeology.

Prior to the launch of an international competition for its design, a certain amount of study and preparatory work must be carried out: an inventory of the place (from an historic and archaeological point of view), studies into stabilising and securing the blast furnaces, implementing the building site and clearing the location. This is the first phase of an impressive project. The land belongs to the company Agora and will be made available to the Fonds Belval, the public body responsible for implementation of state projects on the site at Belval-Ouest. The expenditure involved in the studies and the preparatory work, including decontamination of the soil, shall not exceed an amount of 13.93 million euros.

Established in Dudelange, The National Audiovisual Centre (NAC) is intended to preserve, restore and enhance Luxembourg’s audiovisual heritage. The NAC also serves for the legal archiving of audiovisual works. It promotes professional artists and photographers and provides the public with an added awareness. It also produces works, reports, portfolios and publications which have a documentary and cultural value.

Among the most important jobs carried out by the NAC are the restoration and reinstallation in Clervaux Castle of the greatest photographic exhibition of all time, “The Family of Man”, created in 1955 by the Luxembourg national Edward J. Steichen for the New York Museum of Modern Art.

The construction work started on 16 January 2003. The building houses the National Audiovisual Centre and the Regional Cultural Centre and the Regional Music College. Government took the decision to implement this project in 1998 and Parliament passed the draft bill on 27 June 2001.The costs of the project amount to 40 million euros. The construction work was completed in 2007. The building contains a concert hall with seating for 400 and a 180-seat cinema. The Edward Steichen photo collection “Bitter Years” is on permanent display there, in an old water tower located at Schnauzelach, an area of industrial wasteland.

To conclude this synopsis on major cultural infrastructures, it will suffice to look at the path taken since 1995. Recalling that in 2007 Luxembourg was once again be European Capital of Culture, and nothing will ever be the same again for Luxembourg’s cultural landscape.

Regional Cultural Centre

The regions are not forgotten

Although the largest cultural infrastructures are as expected in the country’s capital, Government invests not only in the city of Luxembourg. It grants significant logistical and financial aid to regional cultural centres and other cultural establishments, both for their construction and their operation. That is the case for the Kulturfabrik in Esch-sur-Alzette in the south, the Edouard Juncker Arts Centre in Ettelbruck in the north and the Kulturhuef in Grevenmacher in the east. Other regional projects, in the west for instance, are being studied.

Within the context of its regional and decentralised cultural events policy, Government has prepared a draft bill relating to the creation of a regional cultural events service and establishing a five-year regional cultural equipment and infrastructure programme.

Government has also decided to examine new modes of intervention through the National Cultural Fund, to promote patronage and to create new financial mechanisms aiding cultural industries.While exceptional projects find considerable financing, everyday projects are far from being forgotten by Government.

Architect of the Philharmonic Hall

Christian de Portzamparc, creator of gems

Born in Casablanca in 1944, Christian de Portzamparc studied at the College of Fine Arts in Paris from 1962 to 1969. His first major work was a water tower in Marne-la-Vallée (1971-1979). His career was finally launched when in 1984 he won the competition to design the Cité de la Musique at La Villette (Paris), completed in 1995. The apartment block Nexus World in Fukuoka, Japan, the extension to the Palais des Congrès (40,000 m2) in Paris, the LVMH Tower in New York, the Law Courts in Grasse en Provence and the large Quebec Library in Montreal and of course the new Philharmonic Hall in Luxembourg are just some of the projects led by Christian de Portzamparc. He also has a number of prestigious works in progress today: the French Embassy in Berlin, a new cultural centre in Rennes, Brittany, a housing centre in Deventer in the Netherlands .

In 1996, sixty eight firms of architects entered the first phase of the competition to create the new concert hall on the Kirchberg. Fifteen were finally invited to compete, among them Christian de Portzamparc, the proclaimed winner in 1997. The Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte Concert Hall is oval, encircled by 823 round filigree columns in steel.

At the heart of the Place de l’Europe, endowed with extremely open geometric forms, Christian de Portzamparc defines it as the metaphor of gem and baptistery: “This jewel evokes cut stone in the setting formed by the surrounding buildings. The baptistery evokes a remarkable construction, centred on several faces. The project is presented therefore as a vast rotunda in the polygon of neighbouring buildings”.

According to architect Christian Bauer, whose firm Christian Bauer et Associés was in charge of the Luxembourg operation, the building were completed at the end of 2004.The opening ceremony took place in June 2005 to mark the closure of the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Union in the first half-year 2005.

Centre for Amplified Music

Everything comes to fruition …

… for those who wait! Once more the adage proves valid. The project to construct a concert hall for young people has been topical since the end of the 1970s. And since then a major venue has been lacking.

On 5 March 1999, Government passed a draft bill relating to the construction of a concert hall for young people on the industrial wasteland at Belval-Ouest, in Esch-sur-Alzette.This first project foresaw the installation of the concert hall in the blower hall built in 1912, with half of the hall being renovated.

The aim of the project was to reconcile the current demands for a concert hall for amplified music with the objectives of a future architectural and cultural conservation process. But to guarantee the organisation and running of musical and cultural events in adequate conditions without changing the nature of the place necessitated complex and costly operational alterations. The project was therefore abandoned and replaced by the construction of a new building, still at Belval-Ouest.

The total cost of this new project amounts to 29.6 million euros. The centre contain two concert halls, one with a capacity to host 4,000 and the other 500. Designed by the Luxembourg firms of architects and engineers Beng, Sit-Lux and ICLux, it also and above all provides eight rehearsal rooms and a resource centre (documentation, information, training and support) for musicians. This constitutes a real improvement in comparison to the former project, which was only for a rock concert hall. The works on 14,000 m2 for the centre were completed in 2005.