The arts workplace (Kunstenwerkplaats) of the city of Hasselt is the new function of the former administrative centre (AC), a brutalist building by local architect Louis Ghysebrechts which opened in 1968. The AC in Hasselt is one of the nine Belgian buildings which is included in the Atlas of Brutalist Architecture (Phaidon). Finding a new functionality for this valuable relic ensures that its story continues into the future.


The concept is to read the AC as an autonomous structure, in which multiple functions are connected: a dynamic machine in which a new world can come into existence. These functions are organised by adding new layers within the existing structure. Inserting the new elements into the old, we envision the result as a cubist painting that can be perceived standing outside and looking at the main facade. The extraordinary composition of the brutalist façade, which has depth and complexity, is the basis of this painting. The painting is coloured with elements like a new theatre, a spiralling staircase, and a rooftop terrace.


The design envisions adaptive reuse of the building and the insertion of a new volume with two movie theatres. The existing volume is connected to public space by removing thresholds and increasing accessibility to the foyer. The entrance area connects to the square in front of the historic City Hall, which has a more representative character, and the café connects to the square in the back of the City Hall, which has a more informal and green character. From the foyer, the stacked functions (main theatre, rehearsal rooms) can be reached.


The existing building, with its strongly profiled façade and canopies, offers opportunities for enhancing the urban landscape. The design envisions the addition of plants and green roofs to add colour to the cubist painting.


2022 - 2023




Hasselt, Belgium




5.100 m2




Stad Hasselt




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