Huis van de Heuvel officially opened


The Multifunctional Accommodation Huis van de Heuvel in Breda has been officially opened. This building is a new social and cultural centre in a residential neighbourhood of the city of Breda.

Atelier PRO renovated and extended this listed Neo-Roman church to house a community centre, two primary schools, a day-care centre, kindergarten and an after-school care. The complex also accommodates a health-clinic, library, gymnasium and a concierge desk. The total building program comprises 6,710 m² of which 4095m ² is new.

To make this combination of community school center and cultural functions possible, the church has been complemented with an extension to form an ensemble, where new and old complement each other. The balance between the two is not only found in mass construction and choice of material, but also appears in the abstract white floating volumes in the untouched nave of the church.

The unity of the building is further emphasized by a sky-bridge connecting the interface between old and new. The foyer of the church and the auditorium in the new stimulate the interaction between the different users through several voids and connecting views. The same dynamics are also reflected in the interior of the schools. Despite the high density of the program a sculptural interior has been created with voids and skylights.

The exterior fits in perfectly with the layout of the surrounding post-war neighbourhood designed by architect Granpré Molière. The surrounding blocks have a village-like and spontaneous character. The ensemble of the church, it’s outbuildings and new extended construction contribute to this by forming a hinge between the main square and the green Brink with green meadows, huge plane trees and hedges.

With the Huis van de Heuvel atelier PRO has designed a building that comments in a contemporary way on the historicizing architecture of the Delft School, in which the use of material and plasticity play a prevailing role. All the interventions in the church’s interior are reversible: they are carried out in such a way that the church can be restored to its original state. The annexes of the church, the sacristy and the presbytery with its small hall, have been explicitly integrated in the design.

Huis van de Heuvel  can be considered a good example of reuse of empty church buildings, and bring new lease of life into a residential area. Through such renovations disused buildings like these keep their importance as a social neighbourhood centre.

More project information about Huis van de Heuvel.

More images on Flickr