Fort 'Werk aan het Spoel’ in the Netherlands – located by the river the Lek between Culemborg and Everdingen - is part of the cultural heritage of the New Dutch Waterline. More than three centuries it was part of the main line of defense in the Netherlands where in case of danger (during war) the polders were flooded in defense of Holland.
Now in 2012 the Fort is completely restored and has a public and cultural function. The Fort is reinforced with the newly build Fort House which amongst others houses a biological restaurant. At the top of the wooden building is a lookout station which offers stunning panoramas of the floodplain and the surrounding Dutch landscape.
In the design of the Fort House the architect made references to the military history of this location. In specific the tanks used in WW1 with their angular appearance were a source of inspiration. Small windows like loopholes, military dark gray steel beams and columns left in sight on the interior of the building. The façade provides an optical illusion and contributes to the special character of the building: the tower part is coated with horizontal boards whilst on the two other longitudinal wall surfaces the parts are placed like a fan/fanning out to the center towards each other. From a distance it is as if these two wall sections make an angled jump forward.
When inside the restaurant large windows facing each other offer fantastic views and make the domestic styled restaurant suddenly leap for a spatial scale enlargement. Although the building is compact with an incision at the south for a covered sunny terrace, when looked at from the side it seems big – again optical illusions play an important role.
The lookout station at the top was initially no part of the program of requirements, but the architects find was immediately a success and formality.
The modern wooden paneled building adds a specific character and is a clear addition to this historic area, where the water now stands as a defensive moat around it.
Location /// Culemborg, the Netherlands
Function /// small-scale recreational, cultural and business: restaurant, studio/workshop, amphitheatre, recreational stop Waterliniepad, lookout station.
Architect /// GENT&MONK architecten – Casper Schuuring
BVO /// 270 M2
Building period /// June 2010 – April 2011
Building costs /// €300.000,-