Kulturhus Haaksbergen

04 Sep 2019

Kulturhus Haaksbergen is a lively quadruple combination of a library, exhibition space, reading café and theater with a foyer. How do you integrate all these elements under one roof? By making space for a fresh, transparent concept with a significant cultural-social function.

Representing a new era to be

The Kulturhus is situated at a renewed location in the heart of the village. Just like the revived location, it represents a new era: a time when disciplines, organizations, and programming do not just exist side by side. Instead, they come together and reinforce each other. In this era, social inclusion is becoming an increasingly important theme and is only achieved through active participation in our living environment. The concept for this new accessible public space for everyone is based on the vision of creative guide Aat Vos, developed with all parties involved during a series of workshops. The vision was brought to life by fully putting the physical character of the building at the service of its social function. The (resulting) design, a co-creation of aatvos and MARS Interieurarchitecten, thus underlines the modern role of libraries as a multifunctional space, a living room for the city of Haaksbergen.

Actively participating in our living environment is crucial for social inclusion.

Aat Vos Aat Vos Creative Guide

Connecting memories to the present

To accommodate the organizations, the modern theater De Kappen and the adjacent monumental school building were partly renovated and physically connected. To avoid the strong character of either building overpowering the other, glass was chosen as a physical but transparent connector. Many citizens of Haaksbergen have fond memories of the old school they once attended. Accentuating the school’s monumental qualities, along with the history and the traces of daily life, these memories are now connected to the present. For example, the original room structure has been respected while light and space have been added with architectural interventions. The auditorium of the past has been given a grandstand and a stage, intended for children’s activities. Furthermore, visitors can discover a large study room, classrooms and meeting rooms, and themed rooms for the book collection. The Kulturhus now also has a small theater room located in the former gym, though it is still recognizable as a gym thanks to ropes, rings, and climbing frames.

Programming by the residents

This physical fusion has allowed for the blending of programs. The multifunctional spaces are not only used by established organizations, but also by the residents themselves. Ans Mebelder, director of Kulturhus describes: “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 offer a physical environment as a setting in which residents and visitors of Haaksbergen can maintain social and sustainable contacts.”

We offer a physical environment as a setting in which residents and visitors of Haaksbergen can maintain social and sustainable contacts.

ANS MEBELDER ANS MEBELDER Director of Kulturhus Haaksbergen

Project Credits

The design of Kulturhus Haaksbergen is based on a vision developed by Aat Vos together with the client in a series of workshops.
Concept and design guidelines: aatvos
Design and engineering: MARS Interieurarchitecten
Photography: Marco Heyda and Jan de Vries