In August I visited the Atomium, Belgium's entry for the 1958 World's Fair held in Brussels.
It is located on 1 Atomium Square in Brussels, near various expo venues and parks and a defining feature of Brussels' skyline due to its unique shape and look.
The building was designed by André Waterkeyn and André and Jean Polak. The stainless steel structure comprises nine 18m diameter spheres that are connected by tubes to form the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal, magnified 165 billion times. It stands 102m tall and is visible from Brussels-Midi train station. Standing below and looking up, it really feels huge.
The tubes connecting the nine spheres enclose stairs, escalators and a lift, allowing visitors to travel to five of the spheres. Only the vertically supported spheres are accessible. The top sphere houses a restaurant with a panoramic view of Brussels. We didn't end up entering the building due to the massive queues (don't visit on a sunny Sunday). It's also not allowed to take a backpack while going up, which is kind of a bummer for any photographer traveling with gear.
In 2004 a massive renovation project was started to replace the by then faded aluminium sheets on the spheres with stainless steel ones. The project was finished in 2007. The Atomium was closed to the public during the entire duration of the renovations. Now fully restored, the Atomium once again shines bright in the sunlight.
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