The Kunstcluster (Art Cluster) forms a new landmark in the town centre of Nieuwegein alongside a new town hall with shops, homes and offices and underground parking. The site of the Kunstcluster consists of two merged blocks: the theatre with arts centre as well as a multi-storey car park combined with retail space on the ground floor.
The new theatre houses two auditoria: a main stage, seating audiences of 650 to 700 and a ‘flat floor’ studio theatre seating 200. The three spectacular foyers and a theatre café looking on to the central square form the public arenas of the building. The top floor is reserved for an arts centre, a multifunctional venue for music, dance and acting classes. The glass façade is printed to give the illusion of (stage) curtains. This applied print also considerably reduces the amount of light penetrating in the building, preventing overheating. The foyers are located on the Stadsplein façade which is translucent in order to make silhouettes visible from inside to outside, and vice versa. Acting as a 20 meter high ‘shopping window’, the facade enables passers-by to get a glimpse of the activities inside. The façade is floodlit after dark with energy-saving LED lighting that can be programmed in different colours.
In the redeveloped town centre nearly all cars will go underground. The multi-storey ‘carbon-neutral’ car parks an exception. This block is literally a green lung in the concrete dominated urban environment. A gentle cascading stairway winds its way up through a bamboo plantation six metres high.
The project was executed whilst Frits van Dongen was partner of the Architekten Cie.
Location: Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
Function: Cultural / Interior
Program: Theatre, art cluster and cafe
Gross Floor Area: 10,275m2
Date commission: 2007
Date construction: 2010 - 2012
Architects: Frits van Dongen and Patrick Koschuch
Design team: Henk de Haas, Joost Baks, Rui Duarte, Remi Versteeg, F. Jaubert, K.R. Sluijs, R. Bos, Jan-Willem Baijense, S. Lin