The European Parliament has been based in Strasbourg since its creation
Over the last 25 years, the Orangerie district has become synonymous with its European institutions and its many diplomatic buildings. The European Parliament (also called the Louise-Weiss building), was completed in 1998 and its 751 seat hemicycle is used by parliamentarians for the monthly sessions of the Parliament of the European Union.
The building was designed by Architecture-Studio Europe and offers the observer a whole vista of architectural features, including an arch, a dome and a tower containing an oval agora. The architects set out with the desire to create an "architecture which sets up systems of open relationships, reflecting democracy in motion, single and composite".
The parliamentarians meet in the largest hemicycle in Europe
The glass and sandstone tower stands 60 m high and houses 1133 offices over 17 levels. The top of the building, which has a look of the unfinished about it, illustrates the ongoing nature of the European project. The building itself is wing-shaped, bordering the banks of the River Ill and the Marne Rhine Canal. It contains office areas and communication and social facilities. The interior is based on three internal thoroughfares, the main one decorated as a winter garden, with a forest of philodendrons.
The central arch is topped by a central dome, under which is to be found the immense hemicycle, the largest in Europe, where the parliamentarians sit for the monthly sessions. The building skin is a huge face of glass, covering an area of some 13,000 m², symbolising the democratic transparency of the European Union.