The presented project concerns a Community Centre, completed in November 2007 in Avelgem, a small village of 9,600 inhabitants in West Flanders.The building is situated in the town centre, close to the church, and on one side, bordering the open countryside.
The brief included a theatre, a multifunctional hall and a café for the local youth group. Because of the poor quality of the soil, the architects decided to stack the programme, in order to reduce the footprint as much as possible. The design had to be modified several times for budgetary reasons.
The moulded aluminium panels and simple box shape refer to industrial edifices that can be found throughout the countryside in this area.
The building has been organized so that the three programme components can be used at the same time, yet independently as well – in part by giving the building three different entrances. Structurally, it is divided into three naves. In the middle nave are the two large halls, in the side aisles the stairwells and other support functions. The apparently closed, introvert box is actually very transparent. Large openings in the front and rear façades enable to see right through the building even as you approach it. Second, the huge void on the ground floor ensures vertical communication. The foyer, offices and multifunctional space are all separate, but they are also visually connected. The offices and foyer also serve as an acoustic buffer during noisy events in the sunken multifunctional hall.
The walls of the 300 people auditorium are clad in black-stained unsanded pine boards of varying widths, with sound-absorbing materials behind them. The theatre is encased in a closed concrete box kept separate from the outer walls. Climate control relies largely on the inertia of the concrete.