Cultural spot with two performance halls


Project Description


Podiumkunstensite, competition for a new center for permorming arts
in a historical setting in Leuven.
Together with Mexican practice Productora, we were invited to this
ambitious competition for the city of Leuven. On the site of a former
hospital, the new center for performing arts is expected to create a
cultural hotspot in this new inner city development, in close harmony
with the historical Augustinessen cloister. The city aimed to build a
innovative and flexible infrastructure for performing arts, and to create
in one move a public anchor point in the city, a ‘third space’ where the
performing arts become part of everyday city life.

Starting from the specific location at the historic city wall, between
two branches of the Dyle river, we designed a compact building block
that responds to this context. The heart of the project is a large public
space, in tension between the historical fabric of the cloister and the
new building: an active urban foyer that becomes the pivotal point of
the site.

The building is conceived as a matrix of functions, with a very clear
organisation (foyer / performance halls / backstage) that allows a very
flexible and unconventional use of the building. Two large guillotine
walls at both sides of the stage make it possible to open up the stage
in the transversal direction, and allow a whole new use. The traditional
dichotomy between public side and backstage is surpassed, the
logistical and production spaces are part of the public eperience of the

A double internal and external staircase winds up through the
different levels of the foyer, and arrives on the accessible rooftop level,
activating the building all day long.

Hand drawing by Evens Brecht

status: competition (second prize)
program: Cultural spot with two performance halls
area: 15.000 m²
location: Brusselstraat, Leuven, Belgium
year: 2018
budget : 36.000.000 €
co-conception team :
ARCHITECTURE : Ouest/ Productora
ACOUSTICS : Kahle acoustics
SCENOGRAPHY : Artscéno / The Space Factory