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KVS - De Kinder 82.jpg


LOCATION / Brussels, Belgium

CLIENT / City of Brussels

AREA / 4 436 sqm above ground (504 seats)

PROGRAM / Theatre

PROJECT / 1998 - 2002

STATUS / Built 2006


The not residential building award : Nominated

A2RC was commissioned by the City of Brussels for this double theatre project after winning an international competition between three firms (Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Groep Planning and A2RC). This long-term project deals with one of the finest buildings in Brussels, not only due to its architectural and historic value, but also because of its symbolic value for Flemish culture. The project has two aspects: modernisation of the old KVS building, and the construction of a new neighbouring building to give the KVS and its company one of the most modern infrastructures, enabling them to put on high-quality shows. The restoration project encompasses all the elements of façades, roofing and balconies, while respecting the original design (1887) by Jean Baes, as well as the remaining façade from the old arsenal (1780). The entrance hall, the foyer and the grand staircase also underwent meticulous restoration. The pre-existing auditorium, rebuilt in 1958, no longer met modern-day requirements in terms of scenography and appearance. It was demolished and replaced by a new auditorium (BOL). The new Italianate auditorium, in black and white, has a capacity of 504 seats, and has a mobile modular system enabling the staging to be altered by changing the space devoted to the audience and the actors. This new design of the auditorium was combined with a lowering of the stage level by about 2.4 metres. This created a stage house with a height of 20.2 metres. Lowering the stage, combined with clearing the space around the base of the façade of the arsenal, enables direct access to the stage from the street, via the old entrance gate of the arsenal. The developed area exploits the contrast between the old sections and a mysterious contemporary object, which looks like a cocoon, surrounding the new auditorium. It is detached from the existing walls, and is separated from the foyer by an atrium crossed by internal walkways, which are an extension of the external walkways and give access to the auditorium. This restores the continuity which used to exist between the external walkways and the areas inside the theatre. A multipurpose room that can also accommodate 180 spectators is housed under the original metal frame of the theatre roof.

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