The new facilities will be used by local associations, among others. The library will serve as a low-threshold meeting place contributing to the social embedding of the neighbourhood. In addition, new fields will be created for the Belgian sport ‘krachtbal’. The adjacent VIVES University of Applied Sciences will also be allowed to use the future sports infrastructure: the sports hall, the martial arts room and the multi-purpose outdoor sports fields.
The collaboration with the neighbourhood and nearby schools consolidates the project’s added value. This new anchor point needs not only a well-considered internal organisation focusing on sustainability and functional as well as ecological values, but also an outstanding architectural charisma manifested by a deep-rooted connection with its immediate surroundings.
The City of Bruges gives priority to the following topics: energy efficiency (‘more comfort with less energy’), functionality (integration of sports and cultural activities), architectural quality (an inspiring environment that encourages people to exercise, relax and connect), high-quality urban development (redefine the Xaverianen site), sustainability (in the broader sense) and accessibility (for everyone, young and old).
Temple of sports and culture
POLO considers the combination and interweaving of sports and culture as a fascinating concept that forms the base for an innovative design. Sports halls and cultural centres tend to be introverted buildings that shield their activities from the outside world. POLO, however, aims to realise a transparent, functional temple of sports and culture, an open and inviting building with a palpable and visible vitality, both inside and outside. The entrance hall is a social meeting space that will serve as an anchor point for the various functions. The different programmatic elements will be visually connected to each other. This will result in encounters between athletes and other visitors, between students and local residents, between young and old. The library, the multi-purpose hall, the cafeteria and the sports infrastructure are literally interconnected.
The vestibule square will serve as a reception area and meeting point: the square reinforces the relationship between the VIVES university campus and the new community centre. Several footpaths and bicycle lanes will run alongside and across the vestibule square. The community centre will have an inviting entrance, which is immediately visible from Xaverianenstraat. The site’s green character is consolidated and reinforced. A new, green buffer will provide visual and acoustic privacy for the surrounding homes. The decision to stack several programmatic elements inside a compact volume ensures that the open space around the building is maintained as a public green space accessible to the neighbourhood residents.