The community meets the community-centre
Loker, a village in West Flanders is one of the eight districts of the municipality Heuvelland. At a stone’s throw from the small village you will find the Kemmelberg, the Blackberg and the Rodeberg, especially famous by cyclists. It is therefore not surprising that the village with 500 inhabitants were generally very modest draw. That change came in 2008 when the council decided to create a new meeting place for local organisations to be build a competition organised by the Flemish Government Architect trough the Open Call.
The existing building at this location served as a school and is currently used as office and child-care. The plot is situated in the village of Loker and connect immediately to the playground and the village meeting-points (DOP). The immediate area is characterised by a number of landmark buildings (former director house and parsonage) and a listed monument (tower of the church). At the same time the plot forms the transition between the built environment at the underlying open landscape with a backdrop of the Kemmelberg.
Our design takes as its starting point not what is yet to come, but what is already there. Therefore, the natural slope of land is used and the view of the Kemmelberg gets a prominent place. It is also intended that the new serene building would not have to compete with the overall look of the village, but that, to the character of the area, would be quiet and modest, but yet powerful.
Both inside and outside it was opted for sobriety for the choice of materials (masonry typical of the region, concrete, smooth plaster and a green roof). Also in all facades this criterion was taken. Thus compensates the open view on the first floor with the closed nature on the ground floor. When people meet in this centre one can see a vibrant set, especially at night, without the card players, quiz, scouts and chiropractic members, dancers and actors would feel and see this as a disadvantage. The community centre provides as a viable way to the live in the street and by extension for the life in the village.
The upper floor consists of three separate and different in size ‘blocks’ representing the diversity of the different activities in the centre. The middle volume houses the fly tower of the multipurpose hall underneath. The stage is possible because the audience’s natural inclination of the field, in both directions are used. These blocks determine the ceiling of the rooms located on the ground floor. This leaves at any time a visual link between the various users and their activities during a meeting.
Also, besides the usual public facilities in the building also a rehearsal room, three meeting rooms, a kitchen and office space is provided.