Culture Building Canadaplein & Theatre de Vest

Culture Building Canadaplein & Theatre de Vest

Alkmaar, Netherlands

Architecture, Interior, Theatre/Concert Hall, Museum/Exhibition

Size: 9,300 m2
Status: Completed
Project Design: 1997 - 1999
Project Realisation: 1999 - 2000
Address: Canadaplein, Alkmaar, the Netherlands
Client: Gemeente Alkmaar

Programme: Cultural centre with museum of 3,500 m2, library of 3,300 m2 and music school of 2,500 m2; renovation of a theatre of 4,750 m2.

Photography: Christian Richters

Canadaplein Cultural Centre and the De Vest Theatre are situated on the edge of Alkmaar’s historic town centre in close proximity to the Great Lawrence Church, providing a new cultural pulse for the city.

The Canadaplein Cultural Centre is designed as one volume, clad in wooden slats, housing three separate institutions: a museum, a library and a school of music. The museum requires minimum daylight and is contained in the heart of the building. Glazing on the roof allows natural light to penetrate the space.

The library is largely contained in the former Interkruis building which has been incorporated into the new block. Oregon pine and sand-coloured linoleum give the space a sense of tranquillity and warmth. In stark contrast, the music school is finished with black linoleum, steel and birch doors.

The original Theatre De Vest was strongly introverted, with its closed front on Canadaplein and a foyer that could only be reached through a low, narrow passage. Mecanoo remodeled the foyer and the restaurant, by giving both spaces a more theatrical appearance towards the square.

Behind the new glass front a two storey high entrance hall is situated with a ticket counter and a bar. From here one can enter the foyer on the ground floor. Theatrical stairs lead the visitor to the upper foyer with views of the square and the Great Laurence Church.

In the evening two remarkable elements become visible from the square: in the foyer, the curved copper wall of the large auditorium and in the restaurant, the red rear wall of the bar with its integrated installations and catering facilities.

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