This conversion of a former officers’ mess into a venue for live music is part of a development plan prepared by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture for an abandoned military campus in Breda. Located at the southwest corner of the campus, the original building, now housing a café, public facilities and offices, faces a residential development.
A voluptuous form accommodating the new auditorium and foyer is tucked behind the old mess hall giving the venue a new identity that is clearly visible from Breda’s entertainment district. An opening is created where the organic form of the extension meets the old building and links the café and the foyer. In order to meet the acoustic requirements of live performances, the auditorium envelope is a double shell with an internal air gap of one meter.
The inner shell, a closed surface of plywood and insulation hung from the outer shell, is shaped to narrow the auditorium perspective towards the stage. The outer shell, contoured differently to accommodate technical requirements, is a composite skeleton of steel and concrete, covered for acoustic reasons with 100 mm poured concrete and clad in a pre-oxidized copper skin. The entrances to the auditorium are concealed when closed, so that the extension only reveals its accessibility when inviting the public to enjoy the space and music within.
With its windowless, asymmetrical form, clad in unpatinated copper, this concert hall by Erick van Egeraat Associated Architects is another example of turn of the twenty-first century “blob" architecture.