De Koolputten Waasmunster
reconversion of a harbour site to a cultural & recreational site - café/restaurant, exposition space & B&B
After years of neglect, the historic Koolputten site in Waasmunster was finally restored to its former glory. With love for its rich heritage, POLO Architects created an exhibition hall, a bar and restaurant and a B&B for this site.
loading dock for coal
Up until the middle of the twentieth century, the Koolputten location was a harbour where ships came to load or unload products such as coal or grain. The name ‘Koolputten’ (coal pits) refers to the nearby storage space for coal. For fifty years, the Schelfhout family managed this coal trade and exploited a highly frequented inn. Since the eighties, the site fell into disuse until 2012, when a family member managed to purchase the plot from the Flemish waterway agency Waterwegen en Zeekanaal.
The site’s rich heritage inspired to revive this project area and restore it to its former function as a meeting place near the Mira bridge.
RESPECT FOR HISTORY
The starting point for this design was the building shell: a timeless, serene brick structure with openings varying in size depending on the viewing angle. The dooryard acts as a leisure area connecting the various buildings.
The eyecatcher of the project is the old manor that was restored to its authentic state and now serves as a reception and exhibition space. Similarly, the former coal storage halls were rebuilt with respect for the past and now host a bar and restaurant. Immense steel windows offer visitors a panoramic view on the unique landscape of the Durme river banks. The former workers’ houses and horse stables, finally, were reconverted into a B&B.
This well-considered, modern-day interpretation of the historical context seamlessly blends into its surroundings, making the Koolputten site a favourite for hikers and cyclists.
photography: Stijn Bollaert
Cluster Landschap en Stedenbouw
winning competition design