Community Home by
Marc Koehler Architects

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Dutch studio Marc Koehler Architects has extended a former primary school in rural Belgium to create a community centre with a folded roof (+ slideshow).

Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects

Marc Koehler Architects designed the building for the Flemish government in the small village of Loker. It is one of eight government-funded projects across the province of West Flanders, which will see existing community facilities upgraded as part of a bid to attract new residents.

Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects

A steel framework creates the faceted roof of the new structure, which is clad externally with corrugated fibre-cement panels and lined internally with timber.

Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects

The walls of the building are glazed and surround a large hall that can be used for different community events, from performances and exhibitions to parties and sporting activities.

Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects

Curtains enable the space to be subdivided, allowing different activities to take place simultaneously.

Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects

A canteen, meeting rooms, bathrooms and storage space are located within the old school building.

"By re-using the existing 1960s building we create a layered reading of the history of the place," the architects said. "Our task was creating an innovative, multifunctional building in a sensitive, historical environment."

Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects

The corrugated roof material is intended to match the rooftops of nearby barns, while the angled forms were designed to be reminiscent of the folds of the surrounding landscape.

The roof also cantilevers beyond the glazed facade, helping to shade the building from direct sunlight.

Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects

Marc Koehler founded his architecture studio in 2005. Past projects include a corner house in the Nieuw Leyden district of Amsterdam, completed in collaboration with architect Sophie Valla.

Photography is by Filip Dujardin.

Here's a project description from the architects:


Community Home

A compact and ecological community home

The building is located in Loker, a small village (600 inhabitants) in the east of Flanders. The project is the result of our winning entry for the Open Call competition, organised by the Flemish government. Our project is the first of eight projects to be completed in the eight sub-districts of the municipality of Heuvelland. As such it can be seen as an impulse for social change, of Flemish villages modernising and upgrading their facilities to attract a potential suburban dweller, returning to the rural landscape. So our task was creating an innovative, multifunctional building in a sensitive historic environment.

Floor plan of Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects
Floor plan - click for larger image

Urban integration

The building consists of a reused part of the existing structure of a primary school build in the 60's, covered by a large folding roof with a glazed façade. The changing shade, created by the various angles of the roof parts reminds of the surrounding patch-work landscape, while the corrugated roofing-material is similar to that used in neighbouring barns.

Roof plan of Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects
Roof plan - click for larger image

The glazed façade provides a generous view over the surroundings, with an emphasis on the Sint-Petrus church, and the sloping landscape of the Kemmelberg. With reusing the existing 60’s building, we create a layered reading of the history of that place.

Section of Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects
Section one - click for larger image

Diversity under one roof

The reused school-building houses the more intimate spaces, like the canteen, storage, sanitary spaces and meeting rooms. The polyvalent, open space can be used for a large variety of activities, like performances, gatherings, exhibitions, sports or parties. The smaller rooms can be opened up towards the polyvalent space, extending their potential, but the large space can also be divided by curtains so that several programs can coexist simultaneously.

Section of Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects
Section two - click for larger image

Sustainable use

The competition prescribed the demolition of the whole existing building, but proposed to preserve the asbestos-free part of the structure, works out in our favour. We created a financial advantage not having to construct new specific spaces, allowing for the polyvalent space to become larger then requested.

Section of Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects
Section three - click for larger image

A natural climate compartmentalisation of use and energy management is automatically created by the two main components of the building. The cantilevering roof acts as passive sun shading, blocking direct sunlight from entering the building in the summer, but allowing sunlight to heat the building in the winter. Another effort is made with the selection of building materials. Carbon neutral fibre cement panels are used for roofing, but also for interior cladding.

West elevation of Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects
West elevation - click for larger image

Location: Dikkebusstraat 131, 8950 Heuvelland (Loker)
Owner: Municipality of Heuvelland
Occupant: Community of Loker
Architects: Marc Koehler Architects
Executive Architects: Import Export Architecture
Project team: Marc Koehler, Rafael Aliende, Willem Bekers, Martijn de Geus, Job Mouwen,
Oscar Rommens, Carlos Moreira, Miriam Tocino, Jakub Zoha and Tieme Zwartbol

South elevation of Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects
South elevation - click for larger image

Construction time: 2011-2012
Structural Planning: LIME engineering
Heating: Studiebureau Viaene
Lighting: Studiebureau Viaene
Electrical Installations: Studiebureau Viaene
Type of construction: steel structure
Materials: In situ concrete floors / steel structure/ wooden ceiling/ laminated wood
glazing frames / aluminium glazing profiles / fibercement plates (roof and interior walls).
Gross area: 550 m2
Gross volume: 2600 m3

East elevation of Community Home by Marc Koehler Architects
East elevation - click for larger image
  • d d

    Looks like an American diner from the 50’s/60’s.