The Atomium is an iconic building in Brussels originally constructed for Expo ’58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair.
A seminal totem in the Brussels skyline; neither tower, nor pyramid, a little bit cubic, a little bit spherical, half-way between sculpture and architecture, a relic of the past with a determinedly futuristic look, museum and exhibition center.
The Atomium is, at once, an object, a place, a space, a Utopia and the only symbol of its kind in the world, which eludes any kind of classification.
It is designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak.
The structure stands 102 meters (335 ft) tall and 18 meters (59 ft) in diameter.
The Atomium consists of 9 spheres, representing an iron crystal magnified 150 billion times.
Tubes of 3 meter (10 ft) diameter connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the center.
The structure is coated with aluminium and weighs around 2,400 tonnes (2,650 US tons).
Of the nine spheres, six are accessible to the public, each with two main floors and a lower floor reserved for service.
In the upper sphere there’s a panoramic view of the city of Brussels, and in the other spheres there are several exhibitions.
The central tube contains the fastest elevator of the time (5 m/s). It allows 22 people to reach the summit in 23 seconds.
By the turn of the millennium, the state of the building had become quite deteriorated and a comprehensive renovation was sorely needed.
The meridians of each sphere were covered with rectangular steel plates, in which LED lighting was integrated.
In 2013, CNN named it Europe’s most bizarre building.