Assemble and Brussels–based architecture practice Czvek Rigby have come second in a competition for the transformation of the Kaaitheatre, Brussels, Belgium.
The original Art Deco theatre has undergone a number of unsympathetic adaptations over its history. Home since 1998 to the critically regarded Kaaitheatre, it is now in need of a substantial upgrade as well as an additional studio theatre, new rehearsal rooms, production rooms and offices to support its future growth.
Working through large scale models, the approach was one of collage, building on the history of addition and adaptation to create a characterful ensemble of spaces that provide for diverse opportunities for performance.
A new building inserted into the block contains the new studio theatre, which can open out into the boiler room to extend the stage or seating area and providing an very versatile performance space that enables experimental staging.
The new building consolidates the productions spaces, workshops, mechanical and electrical services, rehearsal rooms and offices, its upper floors providing views over the city and an open terrace. The building adopts a rational structural approach, with clear spans from the core to the façade that offers generous spaces and flexibility for future use.