GROUP A has recently completed the design of a compact, flexible and future-proof building specifically tailored to the needs of eight different users, comprising shared facilities, and their individually expected visitor flows. This new shared accommodation breathes collectiveness, and yet simultaneously respects each tenant’s unique requirement and individual identity.
The 10,500 sqm multifunctional accommodation houses an elementary school, childcare, youth assistance, music & arts centre, centre for youth & family, public library, theater and gym. The two top floors of the building are home to 20 apartments.
Within the area the building provides a welcome link between the surrounding subareas, echoing the spheres of the New Realism, the ‘green courts’ Renovation Architecture and the Garden Village set up, all of them melting together in the architecture of the new premises. A robust five layer building volume defines a new urban square in front, mending the urban fabric at the location.
Three building volumes of two floors each penetrate into the lush landscape on the parkside. This has resulted in the landscape with its playgrounds being drawn ‘inside’, blurring the transition inside-outside.
For the municipality of De Bilt, this new cultural- and educational venue offers a wide range of public facilities and amenities for meetings where groups of people can come together to congregate, but also has the scope to be a social pivot within the community.
Leading in the design was the incorporation of the various distinctive and functional public-private zones, but also of clustered functions, multifunctional spaces and the need to ensure short walking distances. The complete program now embeds a smart modeled building volume, in which incoming daylight, orientation of rooms, accessibility and urban context are paramount.
In a perfectly natural way the user-friendly and logistically efficient building is capable of harbouring and directing flows of significant numbers of visitors and pedestrians in and around the building. An elongated, folded canopy landmarks the collective main entrance on the newly created urban square. Two additional entrances are located along the park side. The main entrance provides access to a public interior space, which then feathers out to the various entrances of the individual users and the shared facilities.
Both a range of ‘low tech’, low maintenance and operating-friendly design measures, as well as technical applications, will enhance the sustainable aspirations of the design team. In the design process measures/features have been brought into balance with one another, and include: daylight/shading, natural ventilation, absorption capacity, sedum/herbs roof, thermal energy storage system, low temperature floor heating, and a solar thermal roof.
The success of perhaps the most important objective in bringing together eight parties under one roof in the new cultural educational center, was clearly expressed by the director of the elementary school during the grand opening: ‘People coming home, lifting a maxicosi from the car, just popping into the snackbar. At that moment it crossed my mind that “it takes a village to raise a child”. That thought has never left me. Together we are that village. We strengthen and inspire one another, and I am so grateful to everyone that we can actually do this.’
+ Project details
Project title: Cultural educational center Het Lichtruim
Address: Planetenplein 2, De Bilt, The Netherlands
Client: Woonstichting SS W, De Bilt
Architect: GROUP A, Rotterdam
Team: Folkert van Hagen, Lolke Ket, Paul Geurts, Roy Grob, Jos Overmars, Esther Vlasveld, Brigitte v/d Tuin
Landscape architect: Copijn, Utrecht
Project manager: VKZ, Bilthoven
Main contractor: Hegeman Bouwgroep, Almelo
M&E consultant: VIAC Installatie Adviseurs, Houten
Structural engineer: KKB, Soest
Building physics consultant: Peutz, Zoetermeer
Total floor area: 10,500 sqm gross
Photos: Digidaan, Amsterdam, Jan de Vries, Leusden