The Atomium, in Brussels, Belgium, was the main pavilion and iconic image of the World Fair of 1958 (Expo 58). It is now a museum and tourist attraction. The building is 102 m (335 ft) tall, and consists of nine interconnected spheres, representing an elementary iron crystal enlarged 165 billion times.
The philosophy behind the design, by the engineer Andre Waterkeyn, was that it would symbolise a positive and democratic faith in technological progress and offer an optimistic vision of a modern scientific future.
The Atomium is made up of 8 spheres at the apexes of the structure, and 1 in the centre, each 18 m (59 ft) in diameter. The 9 spheres are connected by 20 tubes, each 29 m long. The whole composition rests on 3 supporting structures.
Stairs, escalators and a lift allow access to five of the spheres which are open to the public, and contain exhibition halls. The highest sphere contains a restaurant with panoramic views of Brussels.
In 2004, renovation works began, and lasted nearly 3 years. These works included replacing the aluminium cladding with stainless steel. The aluminium was sold as souvenirs to help pay for the renovation.
Despite originally being intended as a temporary structure, its popularity and success led to it becoming a permanent landmark and a national symbol of Belgium.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Ark Encounter, Kentucky.
- Blur Building.
- Building of the week series.
- Cube Houses.
- Dali Theatre and Museum.
- Dunmore Pineapple.
- Lotus Temple.
- Robot Building, Bangkok.
- Sage Gateshead.
- The Big Basket.
- Titanic Belfast.
- Unusual building design of the week.
 External references
Featured articles and news
Sadiq Khan publishes a new development strategy for the capital.
In the week of the momentous Heathrow decision, we look back at the development and design of T5.
BSRIA’s flagship event will address performance and wellbeing beyond compliance.
Young Architects and Developers Alliance launched to build the relationship between the two disciplines.
BS 8536-2:2016 Design and construction: Code of practice for asset management (Linear and geographical infrastructure).
Paying for off-site goods or materials can be useful, but it puts the client at risk.
People power can be transformative if properly informed and inspired.
ZHA win competition to build an Urban Heritage Administration Centre in Saudi Arabia.
Leaps, not steps, are needed to avoid a ticking time bomb, say BRE in response to Farmer Review.
A multi-purpose hall in France covered in a translucent orange membrane.
Winning designs revealed for a rock formation-influenced residential complex in Rennes.
An article explaining the techniques, regulations and environmental impacts of carbon capture and storage.
Watch one of the first documentaries by the acclaimed Adam Curtis, examining the substandard system building of the 1960s.