Sustainable transformation

Sustainable transformation

Not building, transforming

The most sustainable building is the one you didn’t build. A simple philosophy, and one that Icon embraces whole-heartedly. It means we try to make the best of what’s already there.

The idea of renovation is hard-wired into our DNA. Even if building from scratch would be easier, it’s just not in our nature.

The whole concept of bringing buildings back to life is what makes us tick. What was forgotten, unloved or underappreciated, can be transformed into a future-proofed ecosystem. Stunning to look at. Inspiring to work and play in.

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Intelligent design and cutting-edge technology ensure our buildings go way beyond all expectations. But we never use technology for the sake of it. It’s there for energy efficiency, wellbeing and to make the space better for everyone who works, stays or visits.

This takes creativity and practicality in equal measures. We have the creative vision to see the possibilities hidden beneath the surface of an introverted, tired building. And the practical skill, experience and diplomacy needed to work with local government, community leaders, and a vast team of experts – to turn dreams into reality.

Social impact

Social impact

Our buildings don’t just have foundations; they have roots

We’re proud of the spaces we create. How they inspire and improve the lives of everyone who works in them. And the bigger picture too – what they do for the environment.

Beyond the obvious impact that a pristine, transformed building has on the skyline, our projects have other positive effects. In many cases, great big, life-changing effects.

We believe that we have a responsibility to help create positive change within our communities. That’s why we set up the Icon Forum at the Manhattan building in Brussels. By involving tenants, friends and neighbors, we have encouraged collaboration; all pulling in the same direction to make a real difference.

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And now we’re doing the same with all of our new projects. Environment, society, sustainability – it’s the future. And the future starts right now.

Icon social impact initiatives

Local communities

Laptop donations in the pandemic

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic forced school learning online. This particularly impacted the education of children in lower income families.

The Brussels district of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, where Manhattan is located, is no exception. So we spoke to the mayor to see how we could help. Together with the global law firm, Linklaters, we donated 54 laptops to children in the district who needed them most. This opened up a whole new world of remote learning. Something they’d been denied access to before.

This initiative has resulted in a wider program being implemented by the Icon Forum, with tenants joining forces to donate laptops on a regular basis.

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Tenant engagement

United Fund donations

Community and social action mean a lot to us. So we were thrilled to team up with Linklaters in supporting Inser’Action – a frontline community charity that works near to our Manhattan building.

Based in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Inser’Action provides support to disadvantaged children and their families. Their work helps people, who would otherwise be left on the fringes of society, to integrate into the wider community. The financial assistance we provided, via United Fund for Belgium, was used to install a new community kitchen. It also paid for filming equipment that will help young people to find their voice.

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Local communities

Atrium residents’ concerns

When residents raised concerns about possible noise and disruption during the Atrium transformation, we made their worries our problem.

Along with the local municipality, we talked at length with members of the community. We explained what we were doing and listened to their concerns. This lead to using a pile screwing technique instead of the traditional hydraulic pile driving. Although some work had to be carried out during peak hours, this technique kept noise to a minimum. And following completion of the Atrium, pile screwing has become standard practice across the Zuidas.

Another concern was the height of the Atrium’s new North Tower. Even though the Architect’s plans met legal requirements, some residents still felt that the new tower would block sunlight. In the spirit of cooperation (and to everyone’s delight), we offered to lower the tower. True to our word, the finished tower is lower than originally planned, in line with the heights agreed with residents.

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Health & wellbeing

Community defibrillators

Across the Netherlands, defibrillators have traditionally been locked away in offices. This means they are inaccessible outside of business hours. When we found out that a new organization was planning to revolutionize the way defibrillators are used, we knew we had to help.

The plan was simple, but compelling. To install community defibrillators in accessible locations and establish a network of trained responders – volunteers who are alerted as soon as an emergency ambulance call is made.

The new network of defibrillators has resulted in responders being on the scene before ambulance crews. And as the first few minutes after a cardiac arrest are the most crucial, this initiative is already saving lives.

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Health & wellbeing

Bike path and tree planting

The transformation of the Atrium happened at the same time as the municipality’s ambitious Dokmodel project. This saw a massive infrastructure undertaking and the creation of a major new transport hub.

Unfortunately, this meant that the Atrium would lose its car park. Fortunately, we love a challenge. So we proposed a new underground parking space below the Parnassusweg dual carriageway and the area that would eventually house two new towers.

Simple. Well, not exactly.

The proposed car park was located directly below one of the area’s main cycling routes. So, with skilful planning and clever engineering, a temporary bike tunnel was created that snaked through the Atrium itself.

When the car park was completed, the cycling route was reinstated and every tree that had been removed was replaced. A smart solution and positive result for everyone – the community, municipality, and the environment.

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Added-value ecosystems

Added-value ecosystems

More than just a building

A truly great building is a vibrant part of an evolving urban fabric. It has many roles to play. On the surface it may appear to be simply an office building or hotel, but there is so much more it can offer.

We think of our transformed buildings as ecosystems – as inclusive as they are impressive. Multi-functional spaces, packed with a breadth of world-class amenities.

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Our buildings provide a range of unique health and wellness facilities for employees, guests and visitors. Turning places to work or visit, into places to unwind and recharge.

Every environment we work in is distinct and special. Wherever we operate, we aim for perfection, but perfection comes in all shapes and sizes. Our first step is to understand the neighborhood. What’s already available and what the building’s users will want and need.

Our location-specific selection of amenities creates balance and all-round value. They boost health and wellbeing, attract footfall, and generate income. Along with a fully revitalized building, this invigorates and brings prosperity to the wider community.

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Flexibility

Flexibility

It’s not a contract; it’s a relationship

No one can predict the future. But those who are willing to be flexible, to adapt and flow with the changing times, are already one step ahead.

At Icon, we believe that the traditional landlord/tenant relationship is no longer viable. Fixed contracts with mid-term break clauses don’t work in today’s quick-changing commercial landscape. Embracing the ebb and flow of business, working with our tenants, listening to their needs – this is how we can all grow together.

Structured, yet fully flexible leasing gives you the freedom to shrink or grow as the needs of your market and customers change. We like to think of it more as a relationship than a contract.

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Our buildings include unique combinations of shared facilities: meeting rooms, auditoriums, restaurants, cafés, green roofs, gymnasiums, wellness studios… Spaces to spread out and use as if they’re your own.

Meeting spaces can be block booked for short or long periods. This gives you the opportunity to bring in extra resource for short-term projects, without making long-term commitments to larger spaces.

Leasing, fit-out, space sharing, short-let add-ons… whatever it takes. We’re on a journey with everyone who uses our buildings. So, as our tenants’ businesses flex, we flex with them.