Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu, the New York architectural practice of principals Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu, was awarded the first prize in an open call competition by the Flemish Government Architect to design an 500m community center for a small village in Flemish-speaking Belgium. Of the five designs submitted, SO – IL's solution prevailed through a combination of preservation and an expanded community-oriented program.
Wulpen, a hamlet of 500 inhabitants, is centered around a historically significant brick church in the coastal polder landscape. Opposite the church lies the former town school, which has been closed for several years due to demographic shift-driven lack of attendance, and slated for demolition. SO – IL proposed to salvage the existing school by restructuring and expanding it to form a gathering space for the multigenerational community.
A multipurpose room is housed in the two former classrooms of the school and meeting rooms are located in the previous teachers house which faces the street. The youth population gets a new, circular room, situated in the former the former schoolyard, now a "wild" garden opposite the courtyard. These elements are strung together with a narrow covered walkway. This cast-in-place concrete ribbon redefines the open space and defers to an old, majestic tree.
SO – IL has partnered with local architect Bureau Bouwtechniek from Antwerp and consultants Util for the structure and Igenium for the installations. The building is slated for completion in 2013.
SO – IL team: Florian Idenburg, Jing Liu, Iannis Kandyliaris (design lead), Ilias Papageorgiou, Ivo Hoppers, Danny Duong.