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Renovation and reconversion of the Sint Audomaruskerk in Bissegem

Year ︎︎︎ 2021
Phase ︎︎︎ Competition - 2nd prize
Surface ︎︎︎ 1.375m²
Budget ︎︎︎ 2.350.000 €

In 1898 Bissegem was in need of a bigger church and as the first church burnt down, the third church was being built. The square Bissegemplaats at the the crossing of the Driekerkenstraat and the Steenweg became the new centre of the town. The current assignment is to provide new uses in addition to the liturgy, according to the current community needs. This includes a community center, meeting center, library and drawing academy.

The place is firstly stripped of its surrounding ballast, in the form of front gardens, walls, stairs, etc. The church is no longer on a pedestal but back on the square. By liberating the original form, space is freed up to provide a new embracing volume, making the church more accessible rather then elevated. At the new bicycle road the roof folds up for visibility while the passage to the elementary school is accompanied by a lowering of the roof. This new dynamic gives an identity to the ancillary program and makes interaction with the resident and user primordial. The church becomes an intersection of several slow roads with green and paved residence spaces in between. The interplay inside-outside gives maximum accessibility and low threshold. This allows the spatiality of the central entrance and the nave to be preserved and promotes multifunctional use. A variety of physical, visual and spatial experiences are offered within the structure of the church.

The border between church and public building is a place of interaction and collaboration. Curtains, folding doors, glass windows, perforated sheets, new openings, a balcony, ... provide tangible intimacy without losing the obvious qualities of the church. The project becomes a place for connection and encounter.

Team ︎︎︎ ALTSTADT icw URA Yves Malysse Kiki Verbeeck, UTIL, CENERGIE, Daidalos Peutz