Dutch firm Van Dongen-Koschuch recently renovated an old maritime building into a stunning theater. The former dockland building in the coastal municipality of Den Helder sat unused for over 70 years due to considerable damage from bombing during the Second World War. The new Theatre De Kampanje now includes a concert hall, smaller performance spaces, an art center, offices and a restaurant created by combining the old brick structure with transparent glazed walls.
The new Theatre De Kampanje was envisioned as part of a wider regeneration of Willemsoord, a former naval yard in the northern Dutch city of Den Helder. Amsterdam-based Van Dongen-Koschuch, headed by Frits van Dongen and Patrick Koschuch, was in charge of its striking renovation. To turn the old docklands building into the modern theater, the studio repaired the old brickwork and installed a contrasting glazed auditorium right at the building’s core.
Designed to preserve the spatial experience of the historic building, the cultural shelter sets ‘an interplay of structure, craft, public space, docks and water’, according to the studio. For instance, wooden shutters can be drawn around the theater’s glass walls to prevent distraction during performances, while strips of lighting highlight new areas like the bar. Another important aspect of the renovation was to set the main entrance to the theater in the center of the site, while a secondary access gives a fresh perspective to a forgotten edge of the city.
Photos by Allard van der Hoek