Haaksbergen Citizen’s new Cultural Residence

15 Sep 2019

Kulturhus Haaksbergen has officially opened its doors. At a renewed location in the heart of the village, this Kulturhus is a lively combination of a theater with foyer, library, exhibition space and a reading café. Traditional thinking was abandoned to pave the way for a fresh concept with a significant cultural-social function. The resulting Kulturhus is a welcoming and inspiring place by and for the residents of Haaksbergen where everyone can feel at home.

The Kulturhus represents a new era: a time when disciplines, organizations, and programming do not just exist side by side but merge and reinforce each other. It is also a time in which social inclusion is becoming an increasingly important theme and for which actively participating in our living environment is crucial. The concept for an accessible public space for everyone, based on the vision* of creative guide & architect Aat Vos, could therefore only come about by fully putting the physical character of the building at the service of its social function. The (resulting) design, a co-creation of Aat Vos and MARS Interieurarchitecten, underlines this social function and thus the modern role of libraries as a multifunctional space, a living room for the city of Haaksbergen.

Transparent Connection

To accommodate the organization, the modern theater De Kappen and the adjacent monumental school building were partly renovated and physically connected. To avoid distracting from the strong character of both buildings, a transparent glass connection was chosen to provide a physical bond. The striking yellow color on the rear wall of the glass entrance area accentuates the fusion of the two buildings, creating a sense of unity. “Outside is inside and inside is outside. This also reflects how the building stands in relation to the square at the front, clearly the main entrance. But whoever feels like it is free to choose the back entrance, just like at home,” explains architect Marcel van der Veer of MARS Interieurarchitecten.

Memories brought into the Now

Many people from Haaksbergen have warm memories of the old school which they hold particularly close to their hearts. Accentuating the monumental qualities and thereby making them visible, along with the history and the traces of daily life, these memories are now connected to the present. The striking and recognizable facades have been restored where necessary, and the suspended ceiling and old stucco have been removed. A beautiful wooden roof construction, an old outer wall, and a brick arch – of which the origin is unknown – emerged. The original room structure has also been respected, to which light and space have been added thanks to architectural interventions. The auditorium of the past has been given a grandstand and a stage; it is intended for children’s activities. Furthermore, visitors can discover a large study room, classrooms and meeting rooms, and thematic rooms for the book collection. The Kulturhus now also has a small theater room that is located in the former gym and is still clearly recognizable by the presence of ropes, rings and climbing frames.

Invitation to the Residents

Thanks to the physical fusion, the blending of programs have also been made possible. Multifunctional spaces are not only used by established organizations, but also by residents themselves. “The Kulturhus distinctly invites the residents of Haaksbergen to organize and experiment here. This ‘sharing’ of public spaces is more than practical. For example, while the library is only open during the day and the theater usually in the evenings, the two organizations combined allow a general openness; this ensures constant liveliness and social connection. We want to offer a physical environment as a setting in which residents and visitors of Haaksbergen can maintain social and sustainable contacts,” says Ans Mebelder, director of the Kulturhus.

Identity as the Foundation

The fact that the Kulturhus was established with modest means in a relatively short time is largely the result of the integrated approach and successful cooperation. The users, the building and the environment are the DNA, the identity of a place. By including these factors from the outset in the design process, the physical (re)development, interior and exterior design, along with the house style and communication form a powerful unity

Project Credits Kulturhus Haaksbergen

* The design of Kulturhus Haaksbergen is based on a vision developed by Aat Vos together with the client in a workshop.

Client: Kulturhus Haaksbergen
Concept & design guidelines: aatvos
Design and engineering: MARS Interieurarchitecten
Restoration advisor: Bureau Polderman
Project management: Draaijer + partners
Installation advisor: S2H raadgevende ingenieurs bv
Interior builder: Gieskes Interieur
Constructor: Bouwkundig Adviesbureau Baas BV
Photography: Marco Heyda and Jan de Vries

PRESS KIT: Kulturhus Haaksbergen

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