BNP Paribas Fortis HQ – Award winning sustainable design

The new head office of BNP Paribas Fortis, located at the Warandeberg in the center of Brussels, has recently been awarded with the renowned MIPIM award in the category ‘Best Office and Business Development’. The building was designed by a collaboration of architectural firms: the Austrian Baumschlager Eberle Architekten and the Belgian Styfhals Architecten and Jaspers-Eyers Architects.

The MIPIM Awards are presented every year in Cannes, as part of a fair that unites het most influential players of the international real estate sector. They reward the most groundbreaking real estate projects worldwide. As such a Belgian project receiving the highest honour is a very exceptional achievement. At modulyss we are of course very delighted we got the opportunity to contribute to this inimitable project and we’d like to congratulate BNP Paribas Fortis for acquiring this special recognition.

1 | BREEAM Certified

The New BNP Paribas Fortis HQ is BREEAM Excellent Certified. BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings by which environmental, social and economic sustainability performance is measured.


“BREEAM rated developments are more sustainable environments that enhance the well-being of the people who live and work in them, help protect natural resources and make for more attractive property investments.”


The building obtained its certification because of multiple efforts in terms of sustainability as they invested in rainwater recovery and installed 450 solar energy panels. The building also consists of 5000 m2 of green roof, has several green patio’s and is surrounded by 1400 m2 of greenery.

Its STES, or Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage, is the icing on the cake. 14000 m3 of water stored in the former underground levels are used to heat and cool the building and make the use of fossil fuels completely obsolete. This also makes the headquarters meet the Passive House Standard. 

2 | Aiming to be WELL Certified

When you enter a building that carries a WELL Health-Safety Seal, you can be certain that your wellbeing is put first there. This is also the ambition at BNP Paribas Fortis’ new head office. An abundance of natural light enters and is reflected by the materials used for the interior design. It’s at this point that modulyss takes part in the bigger story.

The unique collaboration between BNP Paribas Fortis, Jaspers-Eyers Architects and modulyss is also the subject of the latest Podcast by Architectura, Belgiums most visited architectural website. During 40 minutes Loraine Beckers, Head of Expertise Center at BNP Paribas Fortis, Jenny Scherrer, Partner Architect at Jaspers-Eyers Architects and Isabelle Degreef, Sales Director Benelux, France & MEA, talk about their experiences during and after the designing and construction process of the new headquarters.

As this podcast is entirely in Dutch, this blogpost is aimed to give you an overview of the subjects these three leading ladies discussed.

3 | A list of high requirements

According to Loraine and Jenny, sustainability was the most important driver behind the entire project, both in terms of construction and design.

“Next to that,” Loraine, says, “we wanted to create a working space adapted to the new way of working, with collaborative spaces aimed at flexibility and designed with the wellbeing of our employees in mind.”

After referring to necessary requirements to obtain the WELL Certification, she continues: “One of our requirements was the use of as much natural light as possible. Besides natural light sources we integrated a system of Human Centric Lighting, that mimics natural daylight by automatically adapting its brightness and colour temperature during the day.”

Sufficient light reflecting quality was also one of the requirements for the floor covering we have chosen to integrate in the design,” Jenny says, ”next to its acoustic, aesthetic and sustainability requirements.”

“In order to meet the required technical, aesthetic and quality standards regarding the floor covering, modulyss did some proposals in terms of their most sustainable products and designed different inspiring moodboards for the team of Jaspers-Eyers Architects,” Isabelle explains.

The modulyss Motion & Vision Collections in combination with the Cradle to Cradle Certified® ecoBack backing, which is 100% recyclable, proved to be compatible with the sustainability requirements and organic structure of the building.

4 | Custom Made Colour Patterns

Given the scale of the project, a surface of 40000 m2 that had to be covered in carpet, BNP Paribas Fortis had the choice to have their own custom colours developed for their tiles, so it would completely fit the overall interior design of the building.

A combination of white tiles with a black speckle, black tiles with a white speckle and transition tiles enabled the designers to reproduce the fluid movement of the outside building construction on the inside.

Jenny: “For each floor level in the building we mapped out a unique flooring pattern, so no space looks identical.”

5 | Beyond the limits of sustainability

The project challenged modulyss to push the boundaries of their sustainability efforts once more. Isabelle is particularly proud of that: “We developed our CO2RE Initiative to cater the needs of highly sustainable projects like the BNP Paribas Fortis HQ even better.

When producing carpet tiles, an unavoidable carbon footprint is left behind. For each project the value of greenhouse gasses produced is calculated and turned into a CO2 equivalent for which credits are purchased. With these credits modulyss supports a certified climate project. By choosing modulyss, BNP Paribas Fortis supported a cookstove project and provided 196 Ghanaian families with an insulated and safe cookstove.

6 | We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us

“The whole experience made me think of this particular Winston Churchill quote,” Isabelle concludes. “Because of the way this magnificent building now affects its surroundings and the people living and working in the capital city of Brussels. And in particular because it instigated modulyss to take its next step regarding sustainable product development.”

modulyss likes to thank their partners BNP Paribas Fortis and Jaspers-Eyers Architects for the opportunity to take part in this amazing project.

Photo Credits: all pictures by Fred Sablon, except for the second slider photo by Georges De Kinder