3XN has recently completed the Grognon exhibition space dedicated to the history of digital technologies. Located in Namur, Belgium, at the confluence of two rivers and neighbouring the Roman citadel, as well as the Wallonian Parliament, the project inserts itself within the protected historical setting as a new topography, a landscape that flows along the site weaving together the context and the new programme.
A series of organic curves draw the structure’s shape as one continuous gesture that creates a dialogue with the surroundings within a respectful approach to the site’s history. The landscape-like design allows the historical park to continue on top of the structure while the roof slopes towards the Meuse river, creating a terraced plaza with wide steps planted with grass. This new public square is designed to accommodate various activities, from urban events to street performances, establishing a new social space for the city. The terraced slope continues with a pathway along the river and a floating platform where musical performances can take place.
The starting point was to merge the landscape and building into a single composition. One architectural concept, for both the public square and the cultural building, provides a facility that is simultaneously simple and straightforward and filled with experiences and variations. The square and the building together create a significant place and an identity for this unique historical location - Jan Ammundsen, Architect MAA, Senior Partner and Head of Design at 3XN.
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The façade features a series of galvanised steel slats that establish a pattern. The slats increase in width as the building slopes down, creating a seamless transition from glazed to opaque. Inside, the semi-circular building features a foyer and a multi-purpose hall, whose flexibility is ensured through sliding doors and sparingly distributed columns. The space opens towards the plaza, between interior and outdoor spaces. A spiral staircase leads to an open-kitchen restaurant with 180 degrees views of the city.
- Location: Namur, Belgium
- Size: 8.000 m2
- Collaborators: BEE architects, De Graeve, Duchene and Nonet, Lateral Thinking Factory, JNC International, Arcadis, Radiance 35
- Program: Exhibition and Caf