Waasmunster leisure complex De Meermin completed

newly built sports centre, cultural centre, theatre & library bring people together

Press release  25/05/2021

Waasmunster - The municipality's decision to relocate the 'De Meermin' Leisure Centre to Abdij van Roosenberglaan, in the heart of Waasmunster, is a resolute choice for a consolidated village centre. The combination of a sports and culture programme provides an excellent opportunity to bring people with various ages or from different walks of life together. The project brings about a remarkable synergy between the small-scale richness of village life and the new multifunctional programme.

living typology

At the centre of the plan, POLO realised an open-air garden named 'Vrijetijdsplein', surrounded by a covered colonnade. All around the colonnade, the various main programmatic elements unfold themselves: sports, theatre, the library (with administrative functions), a multi-purpose hall and a bar. The grand colonnade forms an articulated buffer between the various programmatic elements and the central courtyard. The square presents itself as an open-air room with a water feature, trees and playful seating elements. The vibrant, green collective space forms the proud heart of the complex.

The courtyard typology refers to the classical agora, the late medieval town square surrounded by arcades or the monastery garden with a covered colonnade. The spaces between the volumes are in line with the central colonnade, creating secondary access points with views of the surroundings.

“The smooth, articulated volumetry helps avoid a major scale shift between the village and the complex. Rather than being a cliché - or a mere nostalgic reference to the many monasteries of Waasmunster - the project's appearance is a living typology. The resulting 'open intimacy' is both contemporary and timeless.” Jef Van Loock – project architect & team coordinator POLO

context & volume

The various programmatic elements are clustered in four distinct volumes surrounding the courtyard. Parking spaces for cars and bicycles are located underneath the sports hall, the largest volume. The smaller entities are positioned on either side of the sports centre: the theatre, the library and the multi-purpose hall. The complex' bold presence along the busy Roosenberglaan, where the building acts as a sound barrier offering a few glimpses of what is happening on Vrijetijdsplein, contrasts with its inviting character towards the village centre and the church. On this side, the colonnade presents itself as an inviting canopy. The building strategically responds to the qualities and limitations of its location.


The four main volumes are conceived as simple volumes with a prefabricated light grey architectural concrete base. The upper sides of the facades are covered with slats of preserved wood. The planking rhythm adds distinctive layers and depth to the facade. The neutral, rhythmic facade forms an expressive but unobtrusive backdrop against which the other elements come into their own: the architectural concrete colonnade, the trees, the greenery and the people; life itself.

interior design: unity in diversity

The interior design completes and reinforces the overall concept. POLO interior design opts for a consistent use of materials and a transparent formal language in order to create a sense of cohesion and continuity. It is a conscious decision to blur the boundaries between the inside and outside, and between the different functions. The well-considered lighting design (both inside and outside) and the arrangement of the surrounding park and the leisure square share the same objective.


The building's outer facades are characterised by the use of honest and robust materials: concrete, wood and glass. The interior design builds on this logic, adding subtle colour accents and a dose of material tactility. Materials selected for the interior include polished concrete and concrete slabs (floors), wood (both for floors and walls), black wire mesh (finishing), and textile (carpets, curtains, wall covering) in a variety of warm shades.

tableau vivant

The outdoor space design should not go unnoticed. The surrounding greenery is drawn into the central square. The concrete slabs, concrete bricks and grass pavers create an intriguing tableau - a visual feast in itself: a perfect balance of form, functionality and water penetration. 'Vrijetijdsplein' acts as a fully functional outdoor room to be used as much as possible. Storytime events can take place in a small amphitheatre, while the gallery protects the bar's outdoor terrace from the blazing summer sun and the lashing rain.

The official opening will take place on Saturday, September 4th.

POLO's leisure complex 'De Meermin' in Waasmunster is a wholehearted commitment to contribute to a sustainable and consolidated village centre. The village's authentic qualities are translated into a contemporary collective space that invites citizens to come together. Through this project, the village of Waasmunster strengthens its personality and its identity.

download PRESS RELEASE Waasmunster leisure complex De Meermin completed
download PERSTEKST Vrijetijdscomplex De Meermin Waasmunster gerealiseerd
téléchargez COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE Complexe de loisirs De Meermin Waasmunster achevé

Stijn Bollaert


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Abdij van Roosenberglaan, Waasmunster

Surface Area

7.775 m²




municipality of Waasmunster


winning competition design


POLO was founded in 1991 by Mauro Poponcini & Patrick Lootens. Today, The design-focused platform with expertise in urbanism, architecture, interior design & research consists of a dedicated team of 120 highly skilled professionals who work from studios in Antwerp & Brussels on assignments throughout Belgium and beyond.

A solid collective with plenty of knowledge, architectural expertise and experience. But also, and more importantly, a beautiful group of colleagues with a work ethic driven by design, creativity and reflection.

POLO is an amalgam: a creative bundle of contradictions with room for large projects (commercial, private, public) as well as (smaller) exceptions.

POLO is ready to prove itself: always, together, different. A stimulating perspective.



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