Re-use of Modernist Buildings
Iris Van der Schueren
Charleroi’s former recreational center gets repurposed into a multifunctional space. The new interpretation allows different functions and services to take place such as (net)working, studying, relaxing, meeting and experiencing events – exhibitions, lectures, receptions, and so on. It is a unique and inspiring environment that seeks to connect.
‘Amicale Solvay’ is an abandoned building that marks the landscape of Charleroi. The building dates back to 1939 and originally served as a recreational center for the employees of the Solvay site.
Its spatial capacity, heritage value and favorable location contributes to the potential for a suitable reallocation and revitalization of the building. Thereby, Charleroi is strongly committed to the redevelopment of the city by responding to current needs such as informal meeting and flexible working. Although Charleroi’s redevelopment policy has an eye for this, it currently facilitates few locations that respond to these new realities.
This masters project tries to find an alternative setting that provides a good balance between working, meeting and relaxing for as wide a target group as possible. Making the site inclusive is the first step. Rethinking circulation, adding elevators and leveling some levels lowers the barrier. The design allows for social interaction as well as sufficient privacy by working with zones. The multifunctional spaces are located centrally, while the two side wings support the more intimate work zones. Furthermore, the original architecture and atmosphere forms the foundation for the formal language.
Club Solvay is a dynamic and interactive environment that links different functions and services. From focused work to experiencing events. The interventions transform ‘Amicale Solvay’ into a vibrant center and the beating heart of the city. ‘Amicale’ gets a literal spatial translation: an unconstrained and convivial atmosphere that brings people together.