Dilbeek, Bélgica

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Academy of Music, Drama and Dance in Dilbeek, Belgium.

Carlos Arroyo y ELD partnership, arquitectos.

Description Technical file

The reflection on form, function and image is present throughout this suggestive project in which the collaboration between architecture and the plastic arts marks a path that facilitates its comprehension.

Brussels’ Dutch-speaking belt has to the west an unofficial cultural capital in Dilbeek, the headquarters of the Westrand Culture Centre and its various facilities. The MWD Academy reinforces this polarity, providing teaching in music, drama and dance and an auditorium-theatre.
The new building is situated in the centre of Dilbeek, in a difficult context owing to the variety of adjacent situations: to the south, the main square (Gemeenteplein) with the town hall and local restaurants; to the west, CC Westrand, with the monumental volumes of A.Hoppenbrouwers’ brutalist building; to the north Wolfsputten, a protected area of natural forest; and to the east a compact group of suburban villas with peaked roofs in the archetypal image of a farm.
The issue lay in how to harmonise the different situations while producing a building with its own quality.
First, through the volume. The new building is a smooth transition between the scale of the family houses and the imposing presence of the CC Westrand.
Then, through shape. The peaked roofs down the street reflect the houses on the other side but turn into a great overhang that looks the CC Westrand in the face.
Third, through function. The only entrance is on the Westrand side. Nothing happens in the more domestic perimeters, nor in the more natural ones. Only on the side that looks to the culture centre, where the auditorium is raised off the floor to create a covered public space in front of the academy entrance.
Last, through the image. The dynamic façade creates an optical effect. If you walk towards the trees, you see trees. It is an image of Wolfsputten. If you walk in the opposite direction, you see the colours of Hoppenbrouwers.
Alfons Hoppenbrouwers, the architect of CC Westrand, was an expert in colours. He dedicated a large part of his time to painting, and in fact the façade of the new building, when you walk towards the Hoppenbrouwers building, is based on one of his paintings. His two-dimensional work is a combination of mathematics and colour. Lines, measurements, geometry, rhythms, colour and texture. These are also the ingredients of music, and in fact several of his paintings are interpretations of pieces of music such as the one composed by the elevation of the Academie. It is the 36-voice Canon of the Flemish polyphonist Johannes Ockeghem.

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Situación: Dilbeek, Belgica. Arquitecto: Carlos Arroyo Arquitectos, Madrid. Arquitectos Asociados: ELD partnership, Amberes. Cálculo de estructuras: Norbert Provoost, Gante. Cálculo de instalaciones: Ingenium Engineering, Brujas. Contratista: Kumpen. Jefe de Obra: Pieter Broekaert. Cliente: Gemeentebestuur Dilbeek. Fotografía: Miguel de Guzmán.
Carlos Arroyo
Miguel De Guzmán