The architecture around the EU Quarter in Brussels varies widely. Modern glass and steel offices are built adjacent to old, classic-style buildings, and decaying structures are just as common as new construction. The EU recently unveiled plans to redesign the area around its institutions, stating that it wants to make the EU Quarter look and feel friendlier to people. Will more construction simplify the chaotic landscape of the EU Quarter or just contribute to the mess? This photo essay takes a look at the current state of the buildings around Europe’s capital.

Brussels is home to many classically styled buildings, such as these houses and shops near the EU.

However, glass and steel buildings, like these EU Commission buildings, often dominate much of the city’s skyline. The juxtaposition of both classic and modern buildings is a common sight in Brussels. In the second half of the 20th century, many old structures were demolished to make room for modern buildings, roads and infrastructure. Such construction was so common in Brussels that city planners refer to the phenomenon as “Brusselization.”

Construction was not just confined to the last century. Today the EU Quarter is home to many building projects. Here workers build a wall in what will become an apartment building in the EU Quarter.

Giant cranes constantly loom over life in the ever-changing EU Quarter. In addition to the current private development in the area, the EU plans to increase its office space in a redevelopment effort that officials say could take about 15 years.

In contrast to constant construction, many buildings around the EU Quarter are falling apart or being torn down. One EU building’s neighbor is this half-demolished structure with debris in the revolving door. It remains to be seen whether or not the EU’s efforts to improve the area will be successful.

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