Atomium: See the biggest crystal atoms in the World| Located only in Brussels



Quick FACTS

  • The Atomium consists of 9 spheres, representing an iron crystal magnified 150 billion times.

  • The structure is 102 metres (335ft) Heigh and 18 metres (59ft) in diameter.

  • The central tube contains the fastest elevator of the time (5 m/s). It allows 22 people to reach the summit in 23 seconds.

  • The Atomium is, at once, an object, a place, a space, a Utopia and the only symbol of its kind in the world, which eludes any kind of classification.

  • Visit Structures Insider's homepage for more stories


Structural Design 🏗


The Atomium is a landmark building in Brussels, originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World Expo (Expo 58). It is located on the Heysel Plateau, where the exhibition took place. It is now a museum.


Three of the four top spheres lack vertical support and hence are not open to the public for safety reasons, although the sphere at the pinnacle is open to the public.


The original design called for no supports; the structure was simply to rest on the spheres. Wind tunnel tests proved that the structure would have toppled in an 80 km/h (50 mph) wind (140 km/h (90 mph) winds have been recorded in Belgium). Support columns were added to achieve enough resistance against overturning.


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Closeup of one of the spheres during renovation

The Atomium, designed to last six months, was not destined to survive the 1958 World Expo, but its popularity and success made it a major element of the Brussels landscape. Its destruction was therefore postponed year after year until the city's authorities decided to keep it. However, for thirty years, little maintenance work was done.

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