Commemorative plaque decorates the entrance of the Atomium elevator

Click picture to enlarge !

Atomium elevatorExpo Hostess

Atomium

Atomium stairs

The visitors reception before the Atomium renovation

View at the stairs in the bipods

Due to the recent renovation people get good views of the inside structure of the spheres.

The Atomium Construction

The 9 spheres of the Atomium are at five different levels:

 

 

 

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Atomium stairs & bipods

A packed up bipode during the restauration in 2005

Atomium sphere

The base sphere with the visitors-reception area

An original Atomium panel as wall covering.

A fresh painted stairs equiped with railing in Atomium design.

After the renovation, lighting of the spheres is the same as in 1958.

During Expo 58 the Ginder Ale restaurant was located between the Atomium bipods and today it’s still there.

 

Left: inside view of the Atomium top restaurant during the world’s fair.

The Atomium

A little less than 4 years before the crucial date, i.e. November 1954, the engineer André Waterkeyn, who wished to celebrate scientific progress, hit upon the idea of the Atomium. This was to represent the atomic lattice of iron crystals, magnified 165 billion times linearly, according to the "cubic body centered" system. The Atomium is the visiualization of microscopic molecular structures on a great enlarged scale.

The fact that the Atomium rests on a single sphere, so that the diagonal of the cube is vertical, results principally from aesthetic considerations. The three bipods which start at ground level and support the three lower spheres have therefore no symbolic significance.

The Atomium was the star of Expo 58 and it still is a worldwide attraction for tourists  today.  As France has the Eiffel Tower so got Belgium its Atomium !

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The base sphere, resting on the pavilion which houses the visitors-reception area.

The three lower spheres, connected to the ground by the stairs in the bipods which support them.

The central sphere, the only one to be connected to all others;

The three upper middle spheres without vertical support and the only ones inaccessible  to the public.

The uppermost sphere, which crowns the Atomium and where the visitors have a splendid view over Brussels and the Brabantine landscape.

Each sphere contains two levels and a supplementary service floor in the lower area.

The lower sphere is connected to the upper sphere by elevator. It is still one of the fastest in Europe !

 

 

 

 

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Measurements

 

Weight: 2.400 metric tons

 

Height: 102 metres / 335 ft.

 

Sphere diameter : 18 metres / 59 ft.

 

Base pavilion diameter : 26 metres / 85 ft.

 

Tube diameter: 3 - 3,3 m. / 9.8 - 10.8 ft.

Tube lenght: 23 - 29 m. / 75 -  95 ft.

 

Longest escalator : 35 metres / 115 ft.

Capacity: 3000 people/hour

 

Elevator speed: 5 metres/sec / 16 ft/sec

Capacity: 22 persons

The Atomium Restoration

 

The Atomium is one of the European capitals' most famous buildings.

This extraordinary structure, designed for the Universal Exhibition in Brussels in 1958, has nevertheless aged over the years and needed a thorough renovation.The Atomium renovation project was therefore launched in 2001 under the joint auspices of the Belgian Federal State, the City of Brussels, the Brussels- Capital region and Atomium asbl. The carcassing works, entrusted to the joint venture Besix-Jacques Delens, began in March 2004 and will end before the end of the year 2005.

It will therefore be able to reopen its doors to the public from january 2006.

 

The Atomium renovation works entail a budget estimated at 23 milion euros. Nearly 70 % of this budget has been granted by the Federal State and the City of Brussels and the rest has been financed by Atomium asbl, representing a huge investment for an association of this kind. To balance this budget, Atomium asbl has decided to sell 1000 of the old panels covering Atomium 's spheres.

André Waterkeyn

1917 - 2005

In Loving Memory

The Atomium Man

 

Sad news, a few months before the opening of the renovated Atomium, its creator André Waterkeyn died in 2005 on octobre 4 at the age of 88 years.

Until a couple years ago Mr. Waterkeyn was closely involved with his Atomium.  Before and during the restoration he came by once or twice a week.

But his creation makes him immortal and he will be remembered as the man who gave Belgium a gorgeous world monument ... The Atomium !

This aerial photograph of the Atomium shows also other Expo relics: in the center the former pavilion of Comtier Tuiller and on top the decapitated Usa pavilion with on its right a piece of the overpass.. This late sixties picture shows also the Arrow of the Civil Engineering. In the early seventies it was pulled down to make place for the Trade Mark Center.

 

 

Recently the Belgian beers became a little more world famous by the Atomium beer

Your webmaster with Frans Cools, the innovative supervisor of the Atomium works during the fifties.

Three different stages of an Atomium sphere.The triangular aluminium panels got replaced by plural ones made of inox. Right picture shows an almost finished sphere. Look at that gleam !

One original escalator is left

Your webmaster’s Expo cable car, from now on part of an Atomium exhibition