Extension campus deSingel

Extension de Singel

Stéphane Beel Architects

Antwerp, Desguinlei 25

2002 – 2010

 

Extension de Singel

In October 2010 there was the grand opening weekend of the new building of deSingel. I was allowed to participate in this. Not through normal tours, but as a kind of info-pillars. I stood in different places and if there was enough audience, I gave some explanation about where I stood. Also afterwards I was allowed to do “normal” tours here, including the design by Stynen. Léon Stynen designed the building as part of a larger plan. On the other side of the ring are other designs by him: the BP building (now AXA) and the Crest Hotel (now Crowne Plaza Hotel). The idea was that you could take a walk between the buildings in the green. The ring crossed the plans figuratively and literally.

Dialogue with the environment

The architect of the extension, Stéphane Beel, is a regular at the arts campus. 25 years ago, he was allowed to design the “French doors”, a partition between the entrance and the corridors and the halls. They are still there. In the 90s, he made a few adjustments and renovations to the building. A master plan was drawn up in 2002, to which Antwerp University of Applied Sciences is also joining. Beel was appointed as the designer and a year later the design for the expansion was ready.

High and Low

The design consists of three major parts. The low-rise building is a closed plinth containing a music and dance hall, exhibition space and offices. It has a rough floor and is oriented to work. The high-rise or the box above it contains spaces for the conservatory where all the performing arts courses are gathered in one place. Here the floor is also made of concrete. In between is the public space with transparent glass and red carpet. A reading room, a library, a grand café and the ticketing office are here.

Extended garden shed

In the video below, the architect explains (in Durch) why he used wood as an exterior finish. It has an extraordinary function: dance, theater and music are performed in the halls and that is why he opted for an unusual material for such a building. The building will also discolour and the budget also foresees that it will have to be replaced after a long time. Some surfaces are painted white, to bring light even further into the extension.

Extension de Singel

 

Stéphane Beel Architects

Antwerpen, Desguinlei 25

2002 – 2010

More information

This article first appeared on my other site about architecture in and around Antwerp: archiplore.

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