The city of Antwerp has the ambition to give young people a real place in the city. With the renovation of a warehouse to a youth culture centre ‘Het Bos/The Forest’, young people get the chance to experiment, create, exchange ideas, be social. All this in an artistic haven where music, theatre, visual arts form the three major parts.
A large canopy marks the entrance and gives a face to the transformation from warehouse to youth centre. The building stands out in the street view and gives away its new identity.
Along the entrance, a ‘canyon’ cuts through the building from floor to roof, from street to garden, revealing its programme. An open staircase, footbridges, technical stuff and a hoist animate this space. All audience levels including the three large halls, the new café, the “popular kitchen”, foyer, … are directly and visually interconnected through this main gap.
Music, theatre and visual arts are located in the middle part of the building. Each function requires a specific space with its own character: a concert hall (200p), a theatre (80p) and a expo hall. Because of the high acoustics norms the concert hall is built according to the box-in-box principle. The theatre is located on the third floor and has a potato-shaped window overlooking the Willem Dock. The window refers to the international arts centre/ campus the Singel.The expohall is situated in between: a bright space with large glass surfaces.
The culture centre is further completed with a café, resto with ‘world kitchen’, foyer’s, offices, cyber rooms, … The project is realised through the close collaboration between the city of Antwerp, the designers BEL-architects and the users ‘Het Bos / The Forest’.
The empty infrastructure forms the starting point. The limited budget and the low profile approach make the interventions to remain visible. No additional finishing touch! An unfinished rough setting forms the ideal background for ‘Het Bos’ to get inspired, continue experimenting, creating and recreating, making music and having fun.