Leisure Centre Waasmunster
newly built gym, cultural centre, theatre & library
The municipality’s decision to relocate the Leisure Centre to the heart of Waasmunster is a resolute choice for a reinforced village centre. The project is set to bring about a remarkable synergy between the small-scale richness of village life and the new multifunctional programme. The combination of sports and culture within the leisure centre provides a perfect opportunity to bring people with mixed ages or from different walks of life together.
GARDEN WITH COVERED COLONNADE
The main design gesture structures the complex around an open space, which connects the programmatic elements and at the same time practically separates them and makes them identifiable. At the centre of the plan, POLO Architects will realise an open-air garden surrounded by a covered colonnade. All around the colonnade, the various main programmatic elements unfold themselves: sports, theatre, the library (with administrative functions) and a multi-purpose hall with a bar.
Spatially and visually speaking, the colonnade forms an articulated buffer between the various programmatic elements and the central courtyard. The heart of the complex is a meeting space: the leisure square. This way, a collective space is placed at the centre and a scale discontinuity with the village is avoided.
STRONG LINEAR ELEMENT
The various programmatic elements are summarised in four volumes; the spaces between the volumes are in line with the central colonnade, creating secondary access points and/or views of the surroundings. The sports centre, which is the largest programmatic element, will be positioned along the long side of the project site. This volume is the most visible and dominant feature of the project. It constitutes a strong linear element, also serving as a sound barrier. Two smaller volumes are positioned on either side of the sports centre: the theatre and the multi-purpose hall. The complex’ sturdy and bold presence along the N446 road contrasts with its inviting character towards the village and the church; on this side, its volumetry is more articulated and open. A clear example of how the building strategically responds to the qualities and limitations of its location.
The four main volumes are conceived as relatively simple volumes with a prefabricated light grey architectural concrete base. On the upper side of the facades, POLO Architects foresees an outer finish with slats of preserved, burned wood, as a reference to the countryside barn archetype. The planking rhythm adds layers and depth to the facade. The neutral, dark, rhythmic facade forms an expressive but unobtrusive backdrop against which the other elements come into their own: the colonnade, the trees, the greenery - and the people.
images: POLO Architects
winning competition design