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.
- Theme Building, LAX
- Titanic Belfast.
- Unusual building design of the week.
 External references
Featured articles and news
This article explains the Buildings Regulations completion certificate, what it is, and when its needed.
Graphene has many potential applications, but when will it start being used in civil engineering?
Increasing productivity – now more than ever as we lead up to Brexit – should be the sector’s number one priority in 2018.
Carillion's collapse causes Construction Leadership Council to delay the construction sector deal report.
Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability: international frameworks, national and local guidance.
What will the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) mean for you when they come into force in May?
Business Secretary chairs a new taskforce to monitor and advise on mitigating the impacts of Carillion’s liquidation.
Sir John Armitt is appointed the new chair of the National Infrastructure Commission.
High quality and high density homes - is it what we need or is it storing up trouble?
Government announces its intention to strengthen planning rules to protect music venues and neighbours.
National Audit Office reports that there is little evidence that PFI offers better value than other forms of contracting.
What is liquidation and how does it apply to contractors in the construction industry?