commissioned by maastricht city council, JHK architecten, working together with verlaan & bouwstra architecten, has transformed the former electric power station and boiler houses of the sphinx factory in maastricht. after extensive restoration and renovation, the listed power station has now become the new accommodation for the maastricht cinema lumière. the 1910 complex is part of the new culture cluster of ‘the timmerfabriek’ and is located on the inland harbor ‘the bassin’ on boschstraat. the redevelopment of this complex is part of the urban development project ‘belvédère binnensingel’, within which the culture cluster will serve as a boost for the future reconstruction of this former industrial area to the north of the center of maastricht.


the listed power station has now become the new accommodation for the maastricht cinema lumière
image © marcel van der burg

 

 

dutch based firm JHK architecten has restored a complex of four buildings: the listed machine hall at the corner of the bassin, two boiler houses directly behind and a carpentry workshop which links the machine hall to the other buildings in the culture cluster. the beautifully decorated listed machine hall now provides space for the cinema’s café/restaurant facility. the first floor, where the old steam machines used to be located, has been transformed into a stylish industrial restaurant in the middle of the old installations. on the ground floor, between the old masonry foundations of the steam machines, is the restaurant kitchen and a separate bar area directly connected to the terrace on the bassin.


the beautifully decorated listed machine hall now provides space for the cinema’s café
image © marcel van der burg

 

 

in the boiler houses behind are the six new cinemas, with a total capacity of 500 seats, stacked according to the box-within-a-box principle. the three largest have been installed in a half-submerged basement construction, which has left sufficient space in the halls to continue experiencing the iconic roof structures. this basement with the new cinemas represents an organizing intervention that together with a number of tactical breakthroughs of the various buildings has created a single, clear and surprising complex. the restaurant level, the elevated ground floor, continues above the half-submerged cinemas so that the four buildings could be linked with each other at this level. as a result, visitors to the cinemas can walk straight into the boiler houses from the restaurant and access one of the six cinemas from the elevated ground floor.


between the old masonry foundations of the steam machines, is the restaurant kitchen and a separate bar
image © marcel van der burg

 

 

the three large cinemas are equipped with so-called ‘parabolic tiered seating’ which means that the seating at the back of the cinema rises up gradually. as a result, you have an excellent view of the screen from every seat, but you can also see the rows in front of and behind you which increases the feeling of a shared cinema experience. in addition, this special form of seating is reflected in the acoustic wall cladding by having the height of the panels correspond with the landings in the tiers of seating.


the redevelopment of this complex is part of the urban development project ‘belvédère binnensingel’
image © marcel van der burg

 

 

the entrance to the cinema is housed in the adjacent former carpentry workshop. there used to be an alley between the workshop and the power station which was later closed off. this closed gap can be clearly experienced internally because the old side wall of the power station can still be seen inside. this later filled-in zone forms the entrance to the cinema, from where people can ascend to the center of the cinema via a new passage and a ‘lazy’ staircase.


where the old steam machines used to be located, it has been transformed into a stylish industrial restaurant
image © marcel van der burg

 

 

since the complex consists of extremely diverse buildings, each with its own condition and status, every building was tackled in a different way, technically speaking. in order to be able to restore the heavily dilapidated boiler houses in a sound and durable way, the masonry, which was in a very bad state, was removed and the steel construction was preserved in its entirety. the walls were then rebricked and insulated, so that a much more comfortable and durable entity was created. by opting for this approach, the complex could be preserved in its entirety, including the slender steel constructions. at the same time, this approach made it possible to construct a basement under the existing buildings for the cinemas, which meant that space was left in the halls to experience the halls as a whole. the listed machine hall has been restored and renovated as well as possible. as a basis, the choice was made here to retain with improvements where possible, without changing the appearance of the monument too greatly.


the toilets for the cinemas are located in the former alley between the buildings
image © marcel van der burg


since the complex consists of diverse buildings, every one was tackled in a different way, technically speaking
image © marcel van der burg


the entrance to the cinema is housed in the adjacent former carpentry workshop
image © marcel van der burg


in the boiler houses behind are the six new cinemas, with a total capacity of 500 seats
image © marcel van der burg


equipped with ‘parabolic tiered seating’ which means that the seating at the back of the cinema rises up gradually
image © marcel van der burg


the power station complex before restoration
image © cor bouwstra


section
image © JHK architecten

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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