Music and art centre Willem Twee has realised a new entrance hall; ‘De Spiegelzaal’ (Hall of Mirrors). Reset Architecture converted a monumental factory floor into a foyer for the pop concert halls, an art gallery and meeting space with flex working facilities. This exciting combination of different uses represents all the art activities in the building in an open, easy and informal setting.
Reset Architecture was asked to create a design for the proposed multi-functional entrance hall. The intended multi-functionality raised many design questions. How do you make the space significant for the city and the building? How can you present art to a maximum presence and still keep it safe? How do visitors use the hall and move through the space during office hours or during a concert? How to deal with the monumental character of the room? How to improve the limitations of the hall; the lack of daylight and the poor acoustics?
The spatial conditions are changed with one clear architectural organizing principle; they introduced a glass carré parallel to all four walls of the hall to literally surround visitors by art. Art reflects, it is a mirror on society. In the ‘Spiegelzaal’ people can experience a variety of art forms and the scenery will captivate their attention and broaden their interest. Being enfolded by glass, the transparency and the soft light, set a unique atmosphere. It’s a grand gesture that presents itself with a modest horizontal stainless steel profile. Due to the discreet approach the monumental character remains dominant, which can also be seen in the layout of the plan. The seating arrangement is positioned in line with the steel columns and creates a clear organisation of space. The design process resulted in some clever but simple solutions. The hardened glass panels are inclined to reduce flutter echo and reflection. A long reverberation time of over 2 seconds needed to be solved to achieve pleasant acoustics. Green baffles, made from recycled clothes, are suspended with magnets on the existing steel beams to prevent lasting changes to the listed building. A long table reacts to the steel construction of the building, a minimal raw steel structure carries the tabletop through which columns pierce.
In the Spiegelzaal People are surrounded by art behind glass. The opposite happens in the cube meeting rooms. Here people are sitting behind the glass and there is art outside the space on the walls of the existing building or you can watch artists at work in the graphic silkscreen atelier. The cube is made with minimal expression in a slim steel construction.