Center for Visual Arts, Alphen aan de Rijn

The Center for Visual Arts rises at a historic location in the new city center of Alphen aan den Rijn. The local community center stood here about fifty years ago, a place for residents to meet and socialize. In the 1950s, it had to give way to the need for a fast traffic connection across the city. Now that the emphasis is again being placed on social interaction, the place forms an important link in the new city center.

Constructing a project near the old church, next to the building plot, was not an easy task. The church stands on wooden posts, so that meant that the groundwater level had to be closely monitored. The water level under the church has been maintained for many years by using a special gutter.

Another challenge was that the building required different qualities for each of the facades. To the east, a store function would have to stand out. Moreover, the building would have to blend in with the church. To the west, on the other hand, it would have to be clear than an important art center had been established. The south facade would have to be an integral part of the street, while the northern one would have to provide space for the various entrances to the CBK.

René van Zuuk was chosen, not only on the basis of his qualifications but also for his ability to achieve exceptional architectural results within a limited budget.

The building is actually set up like a business hall, but a few important variations have been devised. Industrial architecture elements have been applied since the building elements can be seen from the outside. For the facade covering, the architect opted for a type of brick that matched the church's colour. The east side is also made of brick. On the west side, aluminium plates have been used on the facade, the same as the ones used in industrial buildings, but in a darker shade, to give the building a more prominent appearance. The passer-by knows immediately that he is dealing with a special building. The repetitive pattern on the facade facing the street, matches the commercial character of the shopping district.