Cultural Centre Gravenhof Hoboken
renovation & extension of a cultural centre
Through a competition, POLO Architects acquired a commission to draw the Master Plan for the transformation of the City of Antwerp’s Cultural Centres. After an analysis of existing and potential new sites, the city administration decided to invest in those districts where new infrastructure for cultural activities was most needed.
The Hoboken cultural centre is located within a historic castle with a park estate, originally built as a pleasure garden on the outskirts of Antwerp. Over the past decades, the building suffered from vacancy and disrepair. Nowadays, the castle and coach house from the fin-de-siècle period have been repaired and expanded in line with their new purpose as a cultural centre.
Alongside the valuable historic heritage, POLO Architects constructed a new monolithic volume housing the theatre. This multifunctional venue for theatre, music and dance accommodates 300 people and can be fully merged with the foyer by opening an acoustic folding wall.
A glass foyer connects the castle and the theatre. This transparent and inviting space bridging the gap between old and new is the new heart of the centre for culture and youth.
Next to the bar, you can find the ‘garden room’, a beautiful meeting place with a park view, and the ‘cooking classroom’, a fully equipped kitchen that is ideal for workshops. The administration and reception facilities are located in office spaces scattered all over the castle. The first floor houses a handicrafts workshop for young and old. A large terrace offers plenty of possibilities for open-air workshops with a view on the age-old trees in the park. The attic spaces on the top floors have been converted into polyvalent offices and meeting rooms. The adjacent coach house is now used as a storage space.
For the outer facades of the theatre, POLO Architects opted for masonry with a figurative and organic bas-relief to temper the monolith’s heavy character.
POLO Architects also designed CC Nova Kiel, CC Merksem, CC Ekeren ‘252cc’ and CC De Schelde in Zandvliet.
photography: Sarah Blee
winning competition design