marc koehler architects combine community home in belgium marc koehler architects combine community home in belgium
oct 30, 2013

marc koehler architects combine community home in belgium

marc koehler architects combine community home in belgium
image © filip dujardin
all images courtesy of marc koehler architects




covered by a large folding roof with a glazed façade, the ‘community home’ by netherlands-based studio marc koehler architects integrates with the existing 1960’s primary school building and its surrounding landscape. the new center is located in loker, a small village of 600 inhabitants and is one out of eight villages that form the municipality of heuvelland in west-flanders in belgium. wanting to improve the quality of social services in the region, the government decided to re-distribute the existing facilities across the different towns.


‘this ‘swapping game’ can also work as a tool to promote social cohesion and exchange between the villages. the different buildings become specialized centers which are adapted to their specific tasks.’ says marc koehler architects.


the new shed-like structure is reminiscent of the local patch-work landscape, while the corrugated roofing-material is similar to that used in neighboring barns. bringing life to the historic village square, the abstract form unites the inside with the outside by taking into consideration the sloping hill of the kemmelberg. a glazed facade offers expansive views to the exterior, framing the sint-petrus church beyond.


see designboom’s article on the initial proposal by marc koehler architects here.



the abstract form unites with the landscape, taking into consideration the sloping hill of the kemmelberg
image © filip dujardin



providing a level of diversity under one roof, a flexible space was created and the different programs spread across the two structures. the adapted school building contains the more private areas such as the canteen, storage, bathrooms and meeting rooms, while the polyvalent extension can be used for a range of activities like performances, gatherings, exhibitions, sports or parties. the adjacent, smaller rooms are able to extend into the large hall, while curtains offer a level of division so that several functions can coexist simultaneously.



the new shed-like structure is reminiscent of the local patch-work landscape
image © filip dujardin



sustainability measures were applied throughout, and the existing structure was re-used as much as possible. energy management is controlled through the two separate areas – the cantilevering roof acts as passive sun shading, blocking the direct sunlight from entering the interior during summer, but allowing it to be heated naturally during the winter. a careful selection of building materials ensured an environmentally efficient construction with carbon neutral fiber cement panels used for roofing and also interior cladding.



a large folding roof  integrates with the existing 1960’s primary school building
image © filip dujardin



a cantilevered roof structure provides a flexible community space within
image © filip dujardin



the open-plan interior
image © filip dujardin



the smaller, more private rooms can be opened into the hall space
image © filip dujardin









project info:


client: municipality of heuvelland, belgium
architects: marc koehler architects
collaborating architects: import export architecture
project team: marc koehler, rafaeli aliende, martijn de geus, carlos moreira, miriam
tocino, tieme zwartbol
photography: filip dujardin 



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.

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