Photo of the interior – courtesy of www.dwell.com
Built for the World Fair that took place in Brussels in 1958, the Atomium in Brussels has become the city’s most iconic building and an extraordinary example of international brand image. A large metal reproduction of an iron crystal, the structure is 165 billion times larger than the real thing and rises to 335 feet high. During its almost six decades of existence, it was described in many ways, from “unusual” to “strange” – and finally, as “the most bizarre building in Europe”, according to a 2013 CNN list.
” .atomium” – Photo by Christian K
While the structure was to be dismantled after the end of the 1958 fair, it was so successful that it was decided it would remain in place. Today, it receives around 600,000 visitors every year.
Atomium – Photo by Jakub Šram
Engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak were the minds behind the Atomium. Their design incorporates nine metal spheres connected by 20 straight tubes with fast interior escalators that can carry 3,000 persons per hour. From the top sphere, visitors have a breathtaking panoramic view of Brussels (paired with the option to dine at a restaurant located in the same sphere).
Atomium – Photo by Andrew Childs
So why the unusual shape? The building was designed to symbolize the beauty of the molecular structure and the importance of the discoveries made or waiting to be made in this field. Science is celebrated in the structure’s permanent or temporary exhibitions, while space can be rented in the Atomium for a variety of events ranging from seminars to cocktail parties.
Atomium, view from (4) – Photo by Eugene Regis
Even though the Atomium is not a hotel, it allows groups of 10 to 24 accompanied elementary school children to stay in the “Kids’ Sphere” overnight. The activities are well planned, with a movie playing at night, and a presentation of the Atomium in the morning. Children sleep in groups of 3-4 in mini-spheres charmingly called “raindrops,” and the meal plans include a breakfast in the top-sphere restaurant.
Atomium Blink – Photo by Calvin YC
Photo of the interior – courtesy of tripadvisor.com
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