of a decision-making center
NATO’s European strategic military headquarters, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), has been based since 1951 in Casteau, Belgium. Since 2019, the ANMA, B2AI and VK Engineering agencies have been commissioned by the Belgian Ministry of Defense to ensure the design of its new military command center.
The project consists of a tertiary complex of 95,000 m² divided into two entities, namely the general building and the administrative building, as well as four parking buildings and generous landscaping. On a partially built plot of 51 hectares, it follows a phasing allowing the transfer of activities from the old office buildings to the new districts, then their demolition and the landscaping of the freed spaces.
at the heart of the project
The master plan of the project is defined, on the one hand, according to the footprint of the existing buildings and, on the other hand, according to safety parameters at the heart of the design for this operation. It takes into account the landscaping limitations and setbacks from existing fabric in effect within the perimeter of Zone 100 – a heavily guarded area at SHAPE.
In harmony with the large forest landscape on which Camp Casteau is located, the urban plan of the project contributes to the renaturation of the site. Many trees are planted and ensure the spatial distribution of places around the car parks, while a dense forest is inserted in the heart of the patios of the two new buildings which reflects the context of the Bois des Dames, at the gates of the base.
The Berlin Gate, the main entrance to the site, also allows visitors to park and then take a newly created pedestrian path, an entirely planted castle driveway. This greenway draws a perspective of more than a kilometer from Grande Street to the headquarters, where the three flags of SHAPE, NATO and Europe are flying.
The administrative district has offices on floors for NATO partner countries, commercial spaces, a restaurant and a conference center. It ensures the management of visitor flows through a succession of checkpoints which guide the routes according to status: member, partner, family, journalist, visitor, etc.
On its entire base, an 8m high brick base frees up mezzanines and double heights dedicated to reception areas for the public. Three patios reinject nature into the heart of the project while reconciling the landscape restrictions of zone 100. Densely vegetated, they offer quality landscape views through their topographical work to the office, support and changing rooms in the basement.
The headquarters is at the center of the design of NATO tactical operations, it is designed as a protective enclosure that rolls up on itself. The centerpiece of the master plan, the building is adorned with a curtain of blue stone crust from Hainaut which provides sun protection, by varying its size according to the orientation of the facades, and confidentiality of the activities of the interior spaces.
In its center, it has a large garden with a pavilion housing 6 auditoriums. These support four footbridges in R+3, links to the offices on the upper floors of the enclosure and tool for optimizing routes. Thus, users can always get to any point in the building in less than 5 minutes. The double-height ground floor unfolds a promenade around the garden and distributes the offices of the military representatives of the 30 countries, which function as independent embassies.
Along Avenue de Berlin, the car park buildings have a total of 2,800 spaces for this means of transport, which is now central to the site. Their removable metal structure guarantees reversibility towards potential workshops on the ground floor.
Architect : ANMA ; B2AI
Engineering : VK Engineering
Landscape : Benjamin Schlit
Environmental : BREEAM very good