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Leuven wins prize for still to build Performing Arts Building

6 October 2021

The city of Leuven has won the 'Wivina Demeester Prize for Excellent Building Management' for the development of the performing arts site. The jury praised the way in which the city manages the project and appreciated the basic principles that lift the project to a higher level.

Stad Leuven

At the end of this year, the City of Leuven and the designers will present the final plan for the performing arts site. In the meantime, Leuven can already rejoice because there is room in its trophy case for yet another award. Leuven is to receive the 'Wivina Demeester Prize' that puts public patrons with a well thought-out approach and a sense of innovation in the spotlight.

Alderman Carl Devlies (CD&V) is pleased with the recognition. "For many years there has been a need in Leuven for better and larger cultural infrastructure. Instead of taking the easy way out and planning a performing arts hall on the outskirts of town, the city resolutely chose to take advantage of the relocation of the hospitals in the historic heart of Leuven. The original hall for performing arts thus quickly degenerated into a site for performing arts because the historic buildings of the Romaanse Poort and the Predikherenkerk were also integrated into the project. In this way, the whole can form an enormous lever in the redevelopment and upgrading of the entire Lower Town. At the same time, the historical structure of the city -which was brutally broken when the St. Peter's Hospital was built- will be restored."

Incidentally, expectations are high because the well-known firm Sergison Bates architects (SBa) was chosen to design the new performing arts hall. "The design team around Sergison Bates architects (SBa) filled out the Open Call of the Flemish Master Builder with a broad view. They saw the project not as a building but as the design of a part of the city," says Alderman for Culture Denise Vandevoort (Vooruit). "What is so fantastic about the design is that the entrance to the building along its widest side is almost 60 meters long. There is no level difference between the public domain and the building itself. You can just walk in and a few feet away you're already at the largest auditorium. People should not have to think about whether they can enter. There should be no barrier to enjoy all forms of art and culture. In that respect, what we are already organizing today with many partners at the Velodrome is an 'amuse-gueule' for what the performing arts site will bring in the future."

Source: HLN, translated by Leuven MindGate

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