The architecture of Luxembourg probably extends back to the Treveri, a Celtic tribe who prospered in the 1st century BC. A few ruins remain from the Roman occupation but the most significant contributions over the centuries have been the country’s castles and churches. Today there is a veritable architectural boom as Luxembourg’s economic prosperity provides a basis for developments in the financial, EU and cultural sectors with a number of world-class buildings.
The architecture of Luxembourg appears to have its origins in the 1st or 2nd century BC when the Treveri, a prosperous Celtic tribe, developed an oppidum on Titelberg in the south-western corner of the country. The Romans, who occupied the area from 53 BC until the middle of the 5th century, are responsible for the remains of a number of villas across the country, especially in Echternach, Mamer and Goeblange. The Echternach site covers a huge area (118 by 62 metres) where there was a luxurious mansion from about 70 AD with 40 (later 60) rooms. It had thermal baths, a water heating system as well as additional buildings serving the surrounding farming community.
The 1990s were characterised by a progressive internationalization of Luxemburg’s art scene, marked by the designation of the City of Luxemburg as World Heritage Site in 1994 and European Capital of Culture in 1995. This process was manifest in the architectural debate around the design of the new National Museum of History and Art by Christian Bauer et Associés, opened in 2002. International design competitions also contributed to this process, attracting notable architects like Dominique Perrault, winner of the 1996 competition for a major extension of the Court of Justice of the European Union and Bolles+Wilson, winners of the 2003 design competition for the National Library of Luxembourg.
There are severl other fine examples of modern architecture in Luxembourg. These include:
– The Museum of Modern Art (2006) designed by the Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei who was responsible for the famous glass pyramid as part of his renovation of the Louvre.
– The Philharmonie (2005) concert hall designed by Christian de Portzamparc. Located on the Kirchberg plateau, the Philharmonie consists of a peristyle with 827 columns giving the impression of a cliff bearing luminous faults.
– The new European Investment Bank building (2008) designed by Christoph Ingenhoven of Ingenhoven Architects, Düsseldorf.
– The National Sports and Cultural Centre, commonly known as the Coque in view of its shell-like appearance. Designed by the French architect Roger Taillibert, it was completed in 2001.
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