The complex is part of the new sports and work area ‘Meerpaal’, which accommodates a range of different athletic and social activities. The building has three sports clubs as regular users: Hockeyclub Houten, the baseball club Houten Dragons and Handbalvereniging Houten. Apart from this, the building serves as a multi-purpose venue for educational activities and after-school child care, among other uses. The complex also houses a physiotherapy practice.
Since the building caters to a range of user groups, it is characterised by a variety of multi-purpose areas, flexible facilities and dual-use spaces.The new centre occupies a central position within the area plan for the new sports park. It is surrounded by various spacious field hockey pitches and baseball fields. In view of the large-scale and expansive lay-out of the park, the users expressly communicated their preference for a two-storey building.
In addition, the Municipality had a strong need for a building that could be effectively integrated in its green setting. By housing the changing rooms and supporting functions in the half-sunken basement, the architects arrived at a basic structure for the building that satisfied both requirements: the cafeteria and the multi-purpose area offer a wonderful view of the nearby fields, while the slope that encloses the basement forms a distinctive and ‘tangible’ element, which embeds the building in the surrounding landscape.
What’s more: the slope playfully links the cafeteria and the sports pitches, forming as it were a ‘natural grandstand’ for interested spectators. The building’s L-shaped lay-out is based on its orientation towards the sun. Thanks to its elongated shape, De Meerpaal’s cafeteria doubles as a kind of screen for westerly winds, serving as a backdrop for the outdoor terrace at the sunny side of the building.
Roof overhangs ensure that when the sun is at its highest, the hot rays do not enter the building directly; while during the winter the low sunlight is used to help heat the building. The kitchen and storage facilities are found in the heart of the building. This allows staff to directly serve both the cafeteria and the multi-purpose area. In addition, the cafeteria and the multi-purpose area are linked, so that they can be combined to form a single room for large-scale occasions.
The designers have opted for a fresh formal language that is strengthened by minimalist details, as well as a clear use of materials with wood and an abundance of glass. The overhangs and the reveals are finished with white fibre-cement panels that lend a fresh look and feel to the building as a whole.The building in Houten is a typical example of a contemporary, multi-purpose public property.
Conventional club houses and changing facilities are generally realised as single-purpose premises. But in today’s world, there are more and more societal trends pushing towards their use as multi-purpose buildings. For the architect, one of the main outcomes of this development is an intensive process of interaction with a variety of user groups, aimed toward achieving a solid joint result. Source by MoederscheimMoonen Architects.
- Location: Houten, the Netherlands
- Architect: MoederscheimMoonen Architects
- Architect in charge: Erik Moederscheim
- Project Team: Ruud Moonen, Jelle Rinsema, Jim de Koning
- Structural designer: CAE Nederland BV, Barendrecht
- Installation consultancy: DWA installatie- en energieadvies, Bodegraven
- Contractor: Bouwbedrijf De Vree en Sliepen, Tiel
- Client: Municipality of Houten
- GLA: 1,100 m2
- Year: 2017
- Photographs: Luuk Kramer, Courtesy of MoederscheimMoonen Architects
Article by Marco Rinaldi