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Wintercircus

Location Ghent, Belgium
Timeline 2012 - 2020

renovation and conversion of the characteristic Wintercircus to a multifunctional urban space

Intro

A renovation adds a new chapter to the rich history of this former city cancer. It will be a covered city square with an underground rock concert hall, catering facilities, exhibition space and offices. The open space and mix of activities required a sophisticated fire safety solution. Furthermore, this is the first covered public space with a BTES field, which also interacts with the BTES field of De Krook.

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Client(s)
  • sogent
Architects
  • Baro
  • SumProject
  • Atelier Kempe Thill
  • aNNo

Story

By 2050, Ghent wants to be a climate-neutral city. Within the framework of this ambition, a CO2-neutral heating system will be installed under the central arena of the Wintercircus.

The Wintecircus from 1894 was bought in 2005 by urban development company SoGent to completely renovate it. A central concert hall will be installed. The areas around the central arena include offices, exhibition spaces, and a café and foyer. The Wintercircus itself is not listed, but is part of the listed cityscape 'Circuswijk'. It is therefore essential that the renovation takes as much as possible into account the rich heritage value of the building.

Structurally, a large number of floors and roofs (the Wintercircus consists of several covered volumes) need to be reinforced or even replaced. In addition, various stairways and lift shafts will have to be installed as access points. In addition, the underground concert hall had to be excavated, as did the BTES field. By 2050, Ghent wants to be a climate-neutral city. Within the framework of this ambition, a CO2-neutral heating system will be installed under the central arena of the Wintercircus. The most sustainable option in this case turned out to be a BTES field, with 35 probes drilled 150 metres deep. The BTES field will primarily heat and cool the central square.

Comfort and safety

The new building can accommodate up to 750 people at events. Fire stability, e.g. of the roof, was therefore an important issue. The required fire stability is guaranteed by "water mist" sprinklers, which have been optimised through CFD simulations for different fire scenarios.

Acoustically, different interventions are taken to accommodate the multitude of interpretations within the same structure, without compromising the sound comfort of the individual functions.

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