to honor the centennial commemoration of world war I, architecture duo gijs van vaerenbergh was commissioned to realize a reception pavilion for the german military cemetery of hooglede in belgium. as the design of six vaults pavilion was influenced by classical architecture, the project demonstrates a new interpretation of the classic arch and vault typologies. six diagonal vaults at different angles were subtracted from a massive concrete volume, generating an enclosure defined by a complex range of dimensions. the resulting ‘viewing machine’ emphasizes a composition of voids that reveal their bucolic surroundings. the pavilion serves as part of a thematic formal investigation taken on by the duo.

six vaults pavilion gijs van vaerenbergh
images by matthijs van der burgt

 

 

gijs van vaerenbergh designed each vaulted space to frame a fragment of the surroundings: the cemetery, the surrounding landscape and the allotments on the other side. yet, depending on the viewer’s perspective, the pavilion also frames fragments of itself. this creates a pictorial play of arc in arc that brings to the fore the way the play of light affects the vaults. as such, the pavilion functions as a kind of ‘viewing machine.’ while the occupiable space is primarily reserved for the subtracted void, a thickening of one column introduces enough volume to accommodate a subtly integrated lavatory space.

six vaults pavilion gijs van vaerenbergh

 

 

the ground surrounding the pavilion was conceived to emphasize the entrance as a staging area to the cemetery. a dark concrete surface was subdivided to a fractured pattern, referencing the broken and blackened landscape during the time of the war. concrete fragments were strategically removed to make space for greenery and planting. this new ground functions both as a paved square for parking and a park with lush greenery that connects with the green cemetery.

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project info:

 

project name: six vaults pavilion
location: beverenstraat, hooglede, belgium
designer: gijs van vaerenbergh (pavilion and landscape)
landscape architect: LAMA landscape architects (landscape)
stability: BAS bvba
technical office: atelier parkoer (public space specifications)
builders/contractors: vancoillie-tanghe bvba
client: municipality of hooglede (be)
surface area: 1700 m2
project year: 2014 – 2018

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