Avelgem Cultural Center / Dierendonckblancke Architecten

© Julien Lanoo

Architects: Dierendonckblancke Architecten
Location: Avelgem,
Project Team: Alexander Dierendonck, Stefaan Onraet, Tom Callebaut, Jonas Desmyter, Veroniek Vanhaecke, Simon Dhooghe
Techniques Engineering: Engeneering Boydens
Stability Engineering: Engeneering De Muynck
Acoustics and Theatre Techniques: Mathys acoustical adviser
Budget Control and Contract Formation: Engeneering Bouwtechniek
Sponsor: Community of Avelgem
Project Area: 2,370 sqm
Budget: 3,600,000 euro
Project Year: 2004-2007
Photographs: Julien Lanoo

The project is situated in a small village. The site is on the border of a protected natural reserve on one side and near the village centre and community church on the other side.

© Julien Lanoo

Our aim was to construct a compact building. By stacking the functions and using the existing slope of the site we could do this. In this way the footprint of the building was reduced and space was preserved for open air activities. This also means less foundation on a unstable underground. The building is positioned on the border of the site to create as much as possible distance between the public building and the dwellings nearby.

section 01
section 02

The program consists of a theatre (305p) on the first level, a multifunctional hall (700p) and café (150p) for a local youth organisation in a partially sunken basement. Foyer and administration are in between on the ground floor level.

All interventions and design decisions were taken to combine the different parts of the program in one dense building in order to reduce maximally the build surface as the budget was restricted. We proposed a multifunctional use of different entrances that allow an easy use for the owner. By combining rescue exits and entrances we reduced the circulation. The ratio between circulation and used space is very low.

© Julien Lanoo

The building consists of two clearly distinctive parts: a main volume that expresses certain monumentality next to the nearby church and a supporting base integrated in the landscape. The partially integrated basement is made accessible by two large incisions in the landscape so that it is experienced as an underground construction.

On the upper Floor in the main volume is the theatre, internally designed as a functional black box, in which all attention can go to the play. The basic acoustic comfort is designed so that a polyvalent use is possible.

© Julien Lanoo

The foyer on the ground floor provides access to the theatre on the upper floor and the multifunctional hall in the basement. In this in between position beneath the slope of the theatre there is a visual relationship with the multifunctional hall by a large void. This void also provides the basement of daylight through the foyer and realises an important height under the ceiling in the multifunctional hall The lobby and administration are considered as an acoustical buffer to the outside (nearby housing). The expensive glazed acoustic buffer was filled program. By day local organisations can use the space without the feeling of being in a underground space, by night techno parties can take place without disturbing the neighbours.

accesses diagram

Access and rescue exits for the multifunctional hall and youth café are made possible by two incisions in the landscape. The youth café is independent and has a large sunken private terrace.

A lot of attention went to detailing and the use of a limited use of materials with a certain brutality. The building is considered as a tool with a strong image, a flexible use and a neutral background for different activities.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Avelgem Cultural Center / Dierendonckblancke Architecten" 16 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=56539>
  • http://www.airbagging.com Adrem

    Astonishingly AWFUL facade+exterior (towards the city centre): very Aldi supermarket-ish look.

  • Huntburr

    is Belgian architecture

  • Andrew

    It wouldn’t hurt to give the facade a bit more interest… But I definitely would not say it is awful.

    The project is low budget and the architects were using a restrained material palette. The energy was put into the organizational diagram and the detailing. I think the building is quite elegant and I don’t mind a simple facade.

    The building is a container.

  • Andrew

    The other thing that makes the exterior simplicity tolerable is the energy put into ground operations.

  • ArchFairy

    Simple, useful, functional, fits into context, although it would leave much stronger impression with other choice of materials.

  • AV

    I agree wit previous comments regarding the facade – particularly when they did such a great job with some of the other details. Concrete looks very good and similarly some landscaping looks very convincing. As for the atmosphere – well what do you expect? They play balls indoors!

  • N!CK

    Very efficient building, low budget, works extremely well for the people.
    I say great use of material, because the architecture gives the cheap material a higher value.

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  • Noah

    Adrem, Aldi does not look like this.

    This is a great piece of architecture. A typical non-informed critic would attack the facade and ignore the diagramatic thinking that went into this structure.