Gijs Van Vaerenbergh designs reception pavilion with six crossing vaults for
the German Military Cemetery in Hooglede (BE)
In the frame of the centennial commemoration of World War I, the architect duo Gijs Van Vaerenbergh was commissioned by the municipality of Hooglede (BE) to realize a reception infrastructure for the German Military Cemetery. Six Vaults Pavilion is inspired by classical arch architecture, but also presents a new interpretation. Six diagonal vaults were cut out of a massive volume at different angles. This creates a covered space, defined by a complex vault and columns structure of varying shapes and dimensions. The result is a kind of viewing machine that brings both itself and the environment to the fore. With the pavilion, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh continue their work on themes the duo experimented with earlier.
Diagonal vault cutouts
Since August 2018, the Six Vaults Pavilion stands on a plot adjacent to the German Military Cemetery of Hooglede (BE). The pavilion functions as a reception infrastructure that - depending on the viewing direction - frames different fragments of the environment. The pavilion is inspired by classical arch architecture, which can also be seen in the historic Honor Hall of the cemetery, but also presents a new interpretation of this historical architectural vernacular. Gijs Van Vaerenbergh cut six diagonal vaults at different angles out of a massive volume of 9 x 9 x 5 m. A complex vault and columns structure of varying shapes and dimensions define the covered space. An over-dimensioned column accommodates a subtly integrated lavatory space.
Fragments of the surroundings
Each vaulted space frames another fragment of the surroundings: the cemetery, the surrounding landscape and the allotments on the other side. Yet, depending on the viewing direction - the pavilion also frames fragments of itself. This creates a pictorial play of arc in arc that brings to the fore the way the play of light affects the vaults. As such, the pavilion functions as a kind of viewing machine that brings both itself and the environment to the fore. With Six Vault Pavilion, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh continue their work on themes the duo experimented with earlier in other installations. The 'cutting' is an important strategy in their thinking and design process, yet in this work it is applied in a completely novel way. Previously, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh realized internationally acclaimed projects such as Reading between the Lines, Labyrinth, Upside Dome, Framework and Arcade.
Fracture pattern creates space for greenery
The floor around the pavilion was conceived as a spatial installation that reflects the wish to make the entrance zone a space that functions as an important addition to the overall staging of the cemetery. A dark concrete surface was divided by a fracture pattern, which refers to the broken and blackened landscape at the time of the war. Various concrete fragments were removed at strategic locations to make space for greenery and planting. The floor as such functions both as a paved square for parking and a park with lush greenery that connects with the green cemetery. The landscape design was realized in collaboration with LAMA landscape architects.
100 years end of WWI
More than eight thousand German soldiers who fell in the region during the Great War are buried at the German Military Cemetery in Hooglede. The cemetery dates from 1917, when the area was in still German hands. Today, the cemetery is located in a typical Flemish suburban context, surrounded by agricultural lands and traditional allotments. On the occasion of the centennial commemoration of the end of the First World War a new reception infrastructure for the cemetery was realized, with a parking zone, a bicycle shed, a covered reception area and a public toilet. To this end, the municipality of Hooglede bought a plot of agricultural land of 20 x 60 m next to the cemetery. The reception pavilion designed by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh is located in the center of the parcel.