Johan De Wachter Architects
Westervoort, Netherlands | View Map
Project Year
Art Galleries

Cultural Centres
by JDWA – Johan De Wachter Architects

Late 2012 Cultural Centre 'Kulturhus De Nieuwhof' was opened

Johan De Wachter Architects as Architects

In September 2011, the renovation and expansion of Kulturhus The Nieuwhof in Westervoort started. With the transformation of the Nieuwhof to Kulturhus the area Westervoort South now has a representative cultural centre with a full array of services for all residents.

Three separate buildings transformed into one Kulturhus – the existing Nieuwhof was in a poor condition and a thorough 'update' was necessary, both in terms of technology and equipment as in terms of appearance, inside and out. Also, through years of gradual growth, the internal organization of the building was no longer optimal. The entrance, a "link" between the three components, lacked representativeness and appearance. "The building was built as a gymnasium, later a socio-cultural centre and a sports hall were added. The various buildings stood with their backs to each other. We re-united these parts and added a shared lobby." Says Johan De Wachter.

Kulturhus concept - Together with users the aspirations and values were formulated, that would form the basis of the new content and physical renewal of the Kulturhus. The users were involved in all phases and decisions of the design process. The Nieuwhof is for a wide audience. Both young and old, with or without disabilities, people from the neighbourhood and from across Westervoort are welcome here. Because of the pluriform nature of this organization the - originally Scandinavian - Kulturhus concept was chosen. All the different functions in the field of culture, sports, health care, information and advice, education, welfare and services come together in one place. All different users come together under one roof. All the users are jointly responsible for the management and organization of the Kulturhus.

Representative building - The transformation of Nieuwhof to 'Kulturhus The Nieuwhof' was based on the qualities of the existing buildings. With a combination of "selective demolition" and intensive reuse the existing shell could remain almost intact and at the same time space was freed for a new intervention. The steel frame and roof were largely retained. On the South side there was space for expansion. The new floorplan of the Kulturhus simplifies the orientation within the building and makes clear connections between the different parts of the building, thus creating a logical unity. The inviting entrance & new lobby are representative for all users. On the outside, the building gets a canopy and wraparound deck. Both the existing and the new facade are painted white so as to blur the individual components, making the building recognizable as a whole. Due to the modifications to the facade every user's space now has a beautiful outside area. The meeting area has been extended with a large sun terrace.

Kulturhus & JDWA – With two completed cultural centres in the region JDWA Architects has proven experience with Kulturhus projects. This type of project is challenging for the design team because of the location, the complex programmatic demands and the technical conditions. Designing for and with residents of the area also means that a lot of effort is put in communication. Seperate workshops and meetings are scheduled for this collaboration, for the real needs of the user often surface only after extensive discussions about the principles. With cultural centre 'Huis van Droo' (lit: 'House of Droo') in Droo-South area in Duiven (completed in January 2012) and The Kulturhus Nieuwhof in Westervoort (completed in September 2012) JDWA has shown to control this process from the first sketch to the final brick. JDWA's third Kulturhus is currently being realized in Dinxperlo.

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