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Intérieur du tram de Strasbourg
Europe à Cœur
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Titre: Louise Weiss Building, Seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg
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On the Boulevard de Dresde, near the main entrance.


The city of Strasbourg (France) is the official seat of the European Parliament. The institution is legally bound to meet there twelve sessions a year lasting about four days each, other work takes place in Brussels and Luxembourg City (see Location of European Union institutions for more information).

The Parliament's buildings are located in the Quartier Européen (European Quarter) of the city, which it shares with other European organisations which are separate from the European Union's. Previously the Parliament used to share the same assembly room as the Council of Europe. Today, the principal building is the Louise Weiss building, inaugurated in 1999.

The Louise Weiss building (IPE 4) is located in the Wacken district of Strasbourg, south of Schiltigheim, between the 1920s worker's suburban colony (Cité ouvrière) Cité Ungemach and the 1950s buildings of the Strasbourg fair, some of which had to be torn down in order to make way for the Immeuble du Parlement européen 4, its technical name. Built at a cost of 470 million euros at the intersection of the Ill and the Marne-Rhine Canal, it houses the hemicycle for plenary sessions, the largest of any European institution (750 seats - expanded to 785 - for MEPs and 680 for visitors), 18 other assembly rooms as well as a total of 1133 parliamentary offices. Through a covered footbridge over the Ill, the Louise Weiss Building communicates with the Winston Churchill and Salvador de Madariaga buildings.

With its surface of 220,000m² and its distinctive 60m tower, it is one of the biggest and most visible buildings of Strasbourg. The Louise Weiss Building was designed by the Paris-based team of architects Architecture Studio Europe. After the project was approved at an international contest in 1991, work, commissioned by the Société d'Aménagement et d'Équipement de la Région de Strasbourg on behalf of the Urban Community of Strasbourg, started in May 2005, with up to twelve cranes at the time on what was one of the biggest building sites of the decade in Europe. The inauguration of the building took place on 14 December 1999 by French President Jacques Chirac and Parliament President Nicole Fontaine.

The Louise Weiss building has been subjected to criticism for its complex interior design : "It is apparently transparent but almost impossible to navigate; there are bridges between different levels, but you cannot quite work out where they lead". When it was opened, it was condemned by some for being "shabby, dark, difficult to navigate" with telecommunications and lifts being plagued by technical difficulties; Parliament President Nicole Fontaine climbed nine flights of stairs to her office rather than risk being trapped in the notorious lifts. In 2002, the buildings water supply was hit by an outbreak of Legionnaires disease, due to the lack of use for much of the year and in 2008 the ceiling of the plenary chamber collapsed.

The voluntarily unfinished aspect of the tower carries heavy symbolism, as it is oriented eastwards, i.e. towards eastern Europe, of which by the time of the completion of the building no country had yet entered the EU. Urban legends of mostly eschatological inspiration have it that the building was designed after Pieter Brueghel the Elder's paintings of the Tower of Babel (the Vienna version rather than the Rotterdam version). Allegedly, both the painting(s) and the building were inspired by the ruins of the Colosseum.

Mots clés: house, flag, glas
Données image
Image sizes: 3369*2124px, 2151kb
Origin: Originally a digital image, with postprocessing
Date/Time: 20081008-143946
Camera: Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
Iso: 400
Speed: 1/400s
Aperture: F16.0
Focal length: 28.0mm
Aperture: 45mm
Position coordinates:WGS84 LONG 7.76765584946°, LAT 48.5988450495°
Destination coordinates;WGS84 LONG 7.76831567287°, LAT 48.5979226562°
Air-line distance:
Author: André M. Winter
Photo copyright: This photograph is copyrighted (©) by André M. Winter and others. A free permissions for re-use may be given for non-commercial purposes. Commercial use requires a license. Contact André M. Winter for any kind of use. This extended copyright notice applies in all cases. Infringements always will be persecuted worldwide. Legal court: Innsbruck, Austria, E.U.
Text copyright: The description of this photograph (or parts of) is based on this article of the free Wikipedia encyclopedia and are covered by the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). Authors are named on the Wikipedia page.
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