Chamber Music Hall Gaasbeek, Belgium, 2004
Conversion of the former dairy into guest quarters for musicians with chamber music hall
2001 - 2004
Robbrecht en Daem architecten
BAS Dirk Jaspaert
Kahle Acoustics Brussel
By Wouter Davidts
"Belgian architects 'Robbrecht en Daem architecten' gained international fame with a series of spaces for art, ranging from the Aue Hallen at Documenta IX in Kassel, the museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Hauser & Wirth Collection in Sankt Gallen or the Concerthall in Bruges.
They added another appealing project to their list. In Gaasbeek, the rural hinterland of Brussels, the architects transformed a former dairy into guest quarters for musicians with a music room. They carefully restored the old building in front and added a new ziggurat-shaped wing that houses a small practice and concert hall at the rear. 'Robbrecht en Daem architecten' used the form of the ziggurat previously in the Chambre Music Hall in the Concert Hall in Bruges.
But whereas in Bruges it functions as a organizational principle for the interior space - laying out a spiral parcours of seating around the central stage - in Gaasbeek it models both the interior space and defines the exterior shape of the building. The ziggurat is designed as a thick shell that, being clad with the same red bricks on both sides, generates a gentle spiralling roof on the outside and a stunning sculptural ceiling on the inside.
Simultaneously, this double effect of the ziggurat produces a subtle statement about architecture’s potential role and significance in creating spaces for art. The building mediates delicately between inner and outer space, between the realm of artistic creation and the outside world. Although it wilfully produces an intimate and isolated interior - the only window is located high up the wall and does not provide an outside view - it does not succumb to total seclusion either.
Walking up to the terrace on top, one can enjoy a splendid view on the surrounding landscape."