The Moon has been for 50 years a major base for children's arts in the center of town of Mechelen. The Moon stands for theater arts, poetry and wonder. Each year the Moon plays 350 to 400 performances and gets 40 000 spectators over the floor. No wonder that the existing buildings became outdated and a thorough renewal became necessary. The old halls no longer met the requirements of fire safety, and had too few opportunities to bring contemporary theater. The safety and technical equipment had to be replaced. After an architectural competition and a 2 year design period the renovation started in March 2013.
IEA designed the small theater complex in the heart of the city, in between monuments, on top of a roof of an existing building and in the shadow of Sint-Rombouts tower.
Instead of a classical top-down approach whereby the design process proceeds as a zoom-in of the large urban scale, through the smaller scale of the building and architecture, into the micro-scale of interior, techniques and furniture, IEA formulated in this design process a synchronous approach of multiple scales and disciplines.
The results of these multi-faceted approach in which as well urban planning, architecture, historic preservation, techniques and even urban interiors where tested and designed together resulted in the following concepts and guidelines:
Creating idiosyncratic visual, physical and tactile relationship between the new building and the existing surrounding monuments.
Creating three (public, actors, administration) independent circulations through the amalgam of buildings.
Creating a number of user and experience boxes, each with their own character, atmosphere and architectural language and detailing.
Creating an intermediate 'coulisse’ landscape with a number of specific 'framed' views through the building and from the premises into its environment.
By realizing this concepts into a building, the theater, the Moon got a renewed pitch consisting of a number of offices spaces, a workshop, a large hall (+- 200 seats), a smaller hall (+-80 seats) for rehearsals, and intimate performances and a café with a large terrace.
The café is located underneath the small hall, the golden cube inspired by the Apollo 11 Lunar Module. This café will function as a link between the Moon and all its neighbors. (gallery The Garage, The fine arts academy and The Arts Centre).
This project was realized in close collaboration with the architect’s office Beeck / Oostpool. They were responsible for the restoration of the monuments. Beside there was as well an intense cooperation with the theater company, the Moon itself.