De Meermin

Leisure complex, administrative centre, social house

Abdij van Roosenberglaan

Surface area
Municipality of Waasmunster
winning competition design
Publica Award 2022
Stijn Bollaert

The municipality's decision to relocate the 'De Meermin' Leisure Centre to Abdij van Roosenberglaan, in the heart of Waasmunster, is a resolute choice for a consolidated village centre. The combination of a sports and culture programme provides an excellent opportunity to bring people with various ages or from different walks of life together. The project brings about a remarkable synergy between the small-scale richness of village life and the new multifunctional programme.

Living typology

At the centre of the plan, POLO realised an open-air garden named 'Vrijetijdsplein', surrounded by a covered colonnade. All around the colonnade, the various main programmatic elements unfold themselves: sports, theatre, the library (with administrative functions), a multi-purpose hall and a bar. The grand colonnade forms an articulated buffer between the various programmatic elements and the central courtyard. The square presents itself as an open-air room with a water feature, trees and playful seating elements. The vibrant, green collective space forms the proud heart of the complex.

The courtyard typology refers to the classical agora, the late medieval town square surrounded by arcades or the monastery garden with a covered colonnade. The spaces between the volumes are in line with the central colonnade, creating secondary access points with views of the surroundings.

"The smooth, articulated volumetry helps avoid a major scale shift between the village and the complex. Rather than being a cliché - or a mere nostalgic reference to the many monasteries of Waasmunster - the project's appearance is a living typology. The resulting 'open intimacy' is both contemporary and timeless."

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Jef Van Loock
team manager


The four main volumes are conceived as simple volumes with a prefabricated light grey architectural concrete base. The upper sides of the facades are covered with slats of preserved wood. The planking rhythm adds distinctive layers and depth to the facade. The neutral, rhythmic facade forms an expressive but unobtrusive backdrop against which the other elements come into their own: the architectural concrete colonnade, the trees, the greenery and the people; life itself.

POLO's leisure complex 'De Meermin' in Waasmunster is a wholehearted commitment to contribute to a sustainable and consolidated village centre. The village's authentic qualities are translated into a contemporary collective space that invites citizens to come together. Through this project, the village of Waasmunster strengthens its personality and its identity.

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