An old 13th century storage barn is been revived into a new arts centre “Ten Bogaerde” in Koksijde Belgium, standing across a 12th century Abbey. “The Abbot of the Dune Abbey”, a community of monks, dwelled this historical site until 1833. Now the Abbey harbours a restaurant and an exposition. A third building, the old stable is being revived into a brewery at the moment.
Throughout the years the huge barn got burnt down twice, and was rebuilt into a smaller volume. Only the two head facades remained intact during this transition, and became a protected historical element. Over the last decades the barn was mainly used for agricultural purposes.
The first brief for the implementation a museum evolved towards a permanent exhibition combined with a multifunctional space for mainly temporary exhibitions in association with “Frac Nord – Pas De Calais”. The fixed gallery accommodates the works of Georges Grard (1901-1984), a known sculptor who was a resident in Koksijde.
The primary approach towards applying this new functions into a historical significant site as this, was to limit all interventions to a bare minimum. The outside skin of the building was left as much as possible as it was. The two head facades were kept in the same state as before the renovation. Even some rare plants that grow out of the massive thick facade were left untouched. All existing openings in the outer skin remained, inside them glass with nearly invisible steel frames.
A metal black wall inside the principal round arch opening at the east façade guides visitors towards the entrance of the museum. This wall functions as an orientation mark. The thin wall flows into the reception desk at the inside of the building.
Once inside, an abstract concrete volume hangs within the space amidst the renovated old wooden roof structure. This volume embodies the fixed exposition in form and function. Underneath, the multifunctional space remains within the same spatial experience.
After having enjoyed the sculptures of Georges Grard on the first floor of the permanent exposition, visitors can go outside on the first level towards the terrace. The implementation of this outside space was conceived by cutting away an inner segment of the building + removing a part of the roof, both non historical significant. By doing this, the protected west façade becomes completely disconnected with the interior space, standing face to face towards the modern glass façade. Through an overhanging passage a wooden terrace allow visitors to overview the landscape, that was once a World War I military airbase.