WISTIK-Library & Daycare in Eksaarde Belgium
Eksaarde, a village part of the City of Lokeren needed a new recognition point.
A place to gather.
A place where one could meet.
The chosen site for this competition was the former site of the historical townhall.
The program: a kindergarten and a library.
TOOP architectuur joined forces with Steven Vandenborre architects and won the competition to design this new building.
Close to the villages’ centre, new family houses, a school, an elderly home the site rather feels like a park.
As architects we wanted to create a new landmark, very subtle embedded in the park. We wanted a building that feels like it was already there but above all we wanted a building that was open to the public. Even more, we wanted a building that creates opportunities to meet. Where the older people from the elderly home, could meet the new generations. Where schoolkids could come and see their siblings playing.
The program of the building feels at first sight very contradictory. At one side the library where schools come to read books. A place that is rather quiet but open. At the other side the kindergarten. Very strictly regulated but noisy and playfull.
We combined these 2 programs by giving them the same new public square with just 1 entrance to the building and house them in 1 physical building.
The most public functions which can be found in the library are oriented to the street and makes people curious.
The more protected rooms of the kindergarten are placed away from the street but open up to the park and the elderly home behind. The internal organisation of the building is clear and simple. When entering the building one meets the internal patio. All functions are connected through that outdoor area.
The patio is used as a tool to create light but mostly to create interaction without physical approximity. Kids can look at each other through the glass and mirror, parents and visitors see there kids playing in there safe environment when entering the building. Flexibility is the red wire through the library’s interior design.
The community missed a place where the could hold meetings, the kindergarten wanted a possibility to expand. Therefore the books are placed in dark stained plywood cabinets that have steel mesh doors which can open.
When the library is open they create reading pockets where one can discover books. When closed they create curiosity but also make it possible to use the space for other occasions.
The kindergarten can expand and kid scan play in the library without having to move elements. The community can easily hold meetings there. It can become a place to gather.
The kindergarten, the more protected program of the building is oriented towards an outdoor adventurous playground behind the living areas.
Both living areas can open towards the exterior by sliding open the windows.
They make it possible to create an open air living area for the kids.
Kids can easily walk out underneath a canopy before they climb up the hills or cycle around the bicycle track.
The materials we choose to build are warm and recognizable. Sand coloured concrete, bricks within the same colour palette and sand coloured washed concrete. Refined and simple architectural gestures make the building easy to grasp. The public square feels ‘enclosed’ through the concrete beams above.
The brick walls lead one to the entrance and are continued in the interior of the library.
By placing the building in the green we also wanted to continu the green park to the street, through and around the building. One should enjoy flowers, honeybees, the seasons while meeting in or around this new community centre.